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Whitbread's H1 Profits Rise 11%

http://www.fool.com/investing/international/2012/10/23/whitbreads-h1-profits-rise-11.aspx

Sam Robson
October 23, 2012

LONDON -- In a positive trading statement this morning, Whitbread  (LSE: WTB.L  )  announced a pre-tax profit for the first half of 193.4 million pounds, up 10.6% from H1 2011's figure of 174.9 million pounds. The interim dividend was duly lifted by 11.4% to 19.5 pence.

The boost came predominantly from the firm's Premier Inn hotel and its Costa Coffee chains, which benefited from increased trading during the Olympics and the Jubilee celebrations earlier in the year as tourists flocked to London.

In the U.K., Premier Inn grew its total sales by 12.9%, with like-for-like sales up 3.7%. These figures were helped by 1,591 new rooms opening in the period, taking the total to 49,020 -- and a secured pipeline of 11,000 rooms, with the brand on course to reach 65,000 rooms by 2016.

Whitbread's star performer, though, was Costa Coffee, with total sales up a whopping 25%. Underlying profits increased 29%, while like-for-like sales were up 6.8%.

However, there were words of warning from chief executive Andy Harrison, who commented:

As expected, the London hotel market is settling post the Olympics and we wait for a clearer tre