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Preliminary results

30 Apr 2019 Financial & business

Robust financial performance and on-plan to return Costa sale proceeds

  • Solid financial performance in a challenging environment supported by efficiency programme
  • UK network growth to over 76,000 rooms, with good return on capital
  • Second German Premier Inn opened in Hamburg in February 2019
  • Whitbread’s largest ever committed pipeline of nearly 20,000 rooms, including 7,000 in Germany
  • Sale of Costa to The Coca-Cola Company for £3.9 billion, completed on 3 January 2019
  • Tender offer to be launched in June to return up to £2 billion of Costa sale proceeds
Financial highlights
Underlying results (continuing operations)  
Underlying profit before tax£438m£432m1.2%
Underlying basic EPS193.2p190.7p1.3%
Return on capital12.2%12.5%(30)bps
Statutory results (continuing and discontinued)  
Profit for the year£3,731m£436m754.9%
Basic earnings per share2,040.8p239.7p751.4%
Statutory results (continuing operations)  
Profit before tax£260m£426m(39.1)%
Profit for the year£211m£343m(38.7)%
Statutory results (continuing operations) includes £178m non-underlying items
Continuing and discontinued operations  
Cash generated from operations£814m£877m(7.1)%
Discretionary free cash flow£498m£585m(14.7)%
Capital expenditure£557m£555m£2m

All measures are presented for the continuing business unless otherwise stated; † signifies an alternative performance measure (APM) – see notes and glossary for details; *FY includes £2 million non-underlying TSA income charged to Costa post-disposal

  • Total UK accommodation sales growth of 3.5%, reflecting additional capacity
  • UK like-for-like accommodation sales (0.6)% impacted by soft demand, especially in Q4
  • Underlying profit before tax increased by 1.2% to £438 million, supported by tight cost control and the benefit of the ongoing efficiency programme
  • Statutory profit for the year of £3.7 billion, including the profit on disposal of Costa
  • Statutory profit before tax declined by 39.1% to £260 million driven by £178 million of non-underlying items, of which £108 million relates to disposal costs relating to the sale of Costa
  • Full year dividend of 99.65p (FY18: 101.15p) and full year payment of £180 million represents a 2% increase year-on-year on a pro-rated basis reflecting the sale of Costa in January 2019
  • Good cash generation with discretionary free cash flow at £498 million
  • Strong balance sheet with net cash† of £2,583 million following receipt of Costa sale proceeds
  • Return on capital from continuing operations was strong at 12.2%, but declined slightly due to the timing of new capacity, German investment and softer UK hotel demand

Alison Brittain, Whitbread Chief Executive Officer, commented:

“The last year has been significant for Whitbread, with the sale of Costa to The Coca-Cola Company for £3.9 billion completing on 3 January 2019. We intend to return up to £2.5 billion of the net cash proceeds to shareholders, and we have repositioned Whitbread as a focused hotel business by delivering our three strategic priorities to grow and innovate in the UK; focus on our strengths to grow internationally; and to enhance the capabilities required to support long-term growth.

During the year Premier Inn UK1 delivered total accommodation sales growth of 3.5% through further capacity addition. We have grown our UK network to over 76,000 rooms, with around 13,000 rooms in our committed UK pipeline. We announced a new runway of growth to 110,000 rooms at the Capital Markets Day in February and also see potential to extend the estate further with our two format innovations “hub” and “ZIP”. Alongside our 4,008 new room openings this year, we have maintained our high occupancy, with 97% direct bookings, and have delivered a strong return on capital.

In Germany, we recently opened our second hotel, in Hamburg, and our pipeline is now almost 7,000 rooms, which is over 30% of our total pipeline for Whitbread. Our hotel in Frankfurt continues to perform well and has reached a mature level of market occupancy and average room rate, in line with expectations, whilst outperforming the competitor set on customer feedback scores2.

We have also made excellent progress on our efficiency programme, achieving our initial five-year target of £150 million in just three years mitigating significant inflationary pressure. We still have more work to do and in February we announced a new target of £220 million operating and capital efficiencies, to be delivered over the next three years. Our focus on efficiency remains important as industry cost inflation continues and there are ongoing signs of market weakness across both business and leisure, especially in the UK regions.

In the fourth quarter, we saw a decline in business and leisure confidence, leading to weaker domestic hotel demand. This weakness has increased into March and April particularly in the regional business market, coinciding with an acute period of political and economic uncertainty in the UK. At this stage in the new financial year it is too early to know how business confidence and its impact on the market will evolve. However, it’s important to note that our strong balance sheet, ongoing efficiency programme and integrated operating model means we are likely to be more resilient in a weaker market than many of our competitors. In addition, our ability and willingness to continue to invest through this period will place us in an advantaged position in the future.

Therefore, despite the short-term market challenges, our strong competitive position, ongoing disciplined allocation of capital and focus on executing our strategic plan will ensure we continue to win market share from the declining independent hotel sector in the UK and Germany. This will deliver sustainable growth in earnings and dividends, combined with our strong return on capital over the long-term.”

For more information please contact:

Investor queries

Matthew Johnson, Whitbread PLC | +44 (0) 7848 146 761
Ann Hyams, Whitbread PLC | | +44 (0) 7796 709 087
Amit Mistry, Whitbread PLC | | +44 (0) 7540 150 350

Media queries

Matthew Johnson, Whitbread PLC | +44 (0) 7848 146 761
David Allchurch / Jessica Reid, Tulchan Communications | +44 (0) 20 7353 4200

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