Whitbread results put off investors despite sale approval

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Whitbread results put off investors despite sale approval
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FTSE 250 hospitality firm Whitbread (LON:WTB) saw first-half revenues grow by 2.6% to 1.08 billion as the number of rooms in its UK system climbed to more than 74,000. Shareholders have approved the sale of the Costa Coffee chain to The Coca-Cola Company for £3.9 billion and the deal is expected to complete in the first half of 2019, subject to regulatory approval in the UK and China. Statutory profits before tax were almost flat with 0.2% growth.

Chief executive Alison Brittain said: “Following the sale of Costa, Whitbread will be a focused hotel business with operations in the UK, Germany and the Middle East. In the first half of the year, Premier Inn delivered total UK accommodation sales growth of 4.8%. Although we have seen some weakness in consumer demand over the summer, we have made further encouraging progress with our efficiency programme, ensuring we remain on track with our plans for the current year.

[…] We are now looking forward to dedicating our focus to the significant structural growth opportunities available to Premier Inn in the UK and internationally. We will be holding an investor day in February to give an update on our ambitious plans to access these attractive opportunities. We will provide further detail on how we will enhance our investment in our unique, integrated operating model, which will enable us to maintain our market-leading position and access attractive growth opportunities. We will also discuss the optimal capital structure and property strategy to support our growth plans. Ongoing disciplined execution of our plan will continue to deliver sustainable shareholder value through growth in earning[s] and a strong return on capital“.

Shares in Whitbread dropped by 2.08% to 4,371p (as of 11:25 BST).

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