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Whitbread reports strong performance

16 October 2007

Whitbread profit and turnover has leapt off back of "industry leading performance" from its budget hotel chain Premier Inn.

The company saw turnover increase 10.8% to £590.2m in the first half of the year to 30 August, boosted by another strong performance from the hotel chain and its coffee business Costa.

Premier Inn, which Whitbread snapped up 2,000 extra rooms for last month with the £44m purchase of Golden Tulip UK, achieved like-for-like occupancy of 82.1% during the period an increase of 1.3 percentage points year-on-year.

Whitbread added that it was well on the way to achieving its target of opening 3,000 bedrooms during the full year.

With Costa, now more than 800 units strong worldwide, and the group's restaurant division delivering a fourth consecutive quarter of growth, pre-tax profit was boosted 13.3% to £99.4m.

The figures strip out the David Lloyd Leisure chain, which was sold for £925m in June.

Whitbread returned £174m to shareholders through share buybacks and its debt is currently just south of £30m.

Antony Habgood, chairman of Whitbread, said: "These are good results stemming from a combination of focused investment in growing markets where we have strong competitive positions and judicious divestments. We are now seeing the results of this strategy."

Whitbread Golden Tulip deal will not be the last >>

Whitbread restaurant division enjoys buoyant sales >>

Premier Travel Inn in bid to raise £1m for Hospitality Action >>

Kitchen Rat: Costa to open 600th store (possibly) >>

By Chris Druce

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