Whitbread earnings up as Costa Coffee shops boost sales



Whitbread Plc, the owner of Premier Inn hotels, reported a 12 percent increase in full-year earnings, exceeding analysts’ estimates, fueled by its Costa Coffee chain.
Full-year underlying pretax profit rose to 546 million pounds ($792 million), Whitbread said in a statement on Tuesday. The median analyst estimate was for 539 million pounds.
“Premier Inn and Costa benefit from attractive market growth opportunities and we will continue to capitalise on these by developing our network,” Chief Executive Officer Alison Brittain said in the statement. “While it is only six weeks into our new financial year we remain confident of making good progress.”
Whitbread shares have lost a third of their value since Brittain, the former head of retail banking and Lloyds Bank, joined the company in December. Last month, the London-based owner of Beefeater Grill and Brewers Fayre restaurants reported fourth-quarter sales that missed estimates in its Premier Inn and Costa Coffee arms, prompting some investors to call for a sale of one of the divisions.
Christopher Rogers, the managing director of Costa Coffee, resigned earlier this month after an eight-year career at Whitbread. He will be replaced by Dominic Paul, an executive at cruise operator Royal Caribbean International.

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