Whitbread records double digit profit hike

Whitbread recorded a double digit increase in annual revenue, profit and dividend, following a strong performance from its Premier Inn and Costa brands, despite adverse weather conditions.

Whitbread recorded a double digit increase in annual revenue, profit and dividend, following a strong performance from its Premier Inn and Costa brands, despite adverse weather conditions.

Underlying pre-tax profit rose 11.4% to £356.5m in the year to February 28th 2013. Total revenue for the year rose 14.2% to £2.03bn.

Group like-for-like (LFL) sales were up 3.7%, below Investec's 4.2% estimate after underperformance in the fourth quarter.

Underlying basic EPS rose 12.0% to 150.45p while the full year dividend has been increased 12.0% to 57.40p.

Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants profits climbed 5.9% to £313.1m while Costa profits jumped 29.3% to £90.1m as the colder weather bolstered demand for hot drinks.

Premier Inn total sales increased 13.1% and LFL sales were up 3.1%. Costa total sales advanced 24.1% and LFL sales rose 6.8%.

Chief Executive Andy Harrison said: "Over the last five years, throughout the worst of the economic downturn, Whitbread has grown its sales by 11% per annum and profits by 12% per annum, together with 12% per annum growth in dividends. Return on capital has also increased from 11.4% to 14.0% over that period."

Whitbread said trading in the first few weeks of the new financial year has been in line with expectations and Premier Inn has maintained its positive momentum.

Year end net debt was reduced by £33.2m to £471.1m.

CJ

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