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Whitbread Plc Interim Results – 23 October 2018

23 Oct 2018 Financial & business

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Good financial performance and on-plan for full-year results

  • Sale of Costa to The Coca-Cola Company for £3.9 billion approved by shareholders
  • UK network increased to over 74,000 rooms, with a committed pipeline of over 13,000 rooms
  • Strong pipeline in Germany with around 6,000 rooms to be delivered by 2021
  • Solid financial performance supported by tight cost control, maintaining strong return on capital
  • On-plan to deliver full-year results from continuing operations
Financial highlightsH1 FY19H1 FY18Change
Underlying operating profit£286m£277m2.9%
Underlying profit before tax£270m£263m2.5%
Statutory operating profit£277m£277m0.1%
Statutory profit before tax£257m£257m0.2%
Profit from discontinued operations*£47m£45m3.5%
Underlying basic EPS from continuing operations118.2p115.4p2.4%
Statutory basic earnings per share137.2p137.7p(0.4)%
Dividend per share32.7p31.4p4.0%
Discretionary free cash flow£283m£293m 
Cash generated from operations£455m£441m 
Capital expenditure£268m£269m 
Return on capital from continuing operations12.4%12.6%(20)bps
Return on capital14.9%15.4%(50)bps

*Profit from discontinued operations is statutory profit after tax from the Costa business, which was classified as held for sale at 30 August 2018.

  • Revenue increased 2.6% to £1,079 million, reflecting continued capacity addition
  • Total UK accommodation sales growth of 4.8% and like-for-like accommodation sales growth of 0.2% impacted by weaker consumer demand
  • Underlying profit before tax increased in-line with sales by 2.5% to £270 million, supported by tight cost control and the benefit of the ongoing efficiency programme
  • Costa is now reported as a discontinued operation, statutory profit for the period increased 3.5% to £47 million
  • Strong cash generation with discretionary free cash flow at £283 million
  • Strong balance sheet with net debt of £881 million and committed debt facilities of £1.8 billion
  • Statutory profit before tax was maintained at £257 million
  • Return on capital held broadly flat at 12.4% despite pace and timing of new capacity

Alison Brittain, Whitbread Chief Executive Officer, commented:

“The highlight of the first half was the announcement of our agreement for the sale of Costa to The Coca-Cola Company for £3.9 billion, which received the overwhelming approval of our shareholders in October. We intend to return a significant majority of the net cash proceeds to shareholders, although the exact amount, timing and method will be determined following discussions with stakeholders, including our shareholders, pension fund and debt providers. The sale of Costa now requires Coca-Cola to obtain regulatory approval in the EU and China. Much work still remains to be done to ensure a smooth and successful separation from Whitbread at completion and during the following transitional service period, which we are confident in our ability to execute efficiently.

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 have grown the UK network to over 74,000 rooms, with a further 13,000 rooms in our pipeline and we have potential to further extend our growth runway in the UK to 100,000 rooms and beyond. Alongside this material addition of new capacity, we have maintained our leading occupancy rate increased the rate of customers booking with us directly and delivered a strong return on capital. In terms of innovation, we have recently announced the trial of a new format in the UK, “Zip by Premier Inn”, which will open in the first quarter of 2019. In Germany, our pipeline is now close to 6,000 rooms, equivalent to 30% of our total pipeline for Premier Inn.

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 and a strong return on capital.”

For more information please contact:

Investor queries

Matt Johnson, Whitbread PLC | +44 (0) 7848 146 761

Ann Hyams, Whitbread PLC | | +44 (0) 7796 709 087

Media queries

Anna Glover, Whitbread PLC +44 (0) 7768 917 651

David Allchurch / Jessica Reid, Tulchan Communications | +44 (0) 20 7353 4200

Footnotes and definitions are contained immediately prior to the financial statements.

For photographs and video please visit Whitbread’s media library at

A presentation for investors and analysts will be at 9.30am on 23 October 2018 at Deutsche Bank, 1 Great Winchester Street, London, EC2N 2DB. A webcast of the presentation will be available through

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