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Whitbread Posts Rise In H1 Profit, Lifts Dividend


Whitbread PLC (OTC: WTBCY) posted a 20.5% rise in its first-half profit and lifted its dividend by 15.6%.

The company also backed its forecast for the full year.

Profit attributable to parent shareholders jumped to 190.4 million pounds, versus a year-ago profit of 177.5 million pounds. Its EPS climbed to 104.39 pence from 98.23 pence, while EPS before exceptional items gained to 104.99 pence from 85.06 pence.

Whitbread posted a pretax profit of 241.8 million pounds ($391.3 million) for the period, compared to GBP200.7 million, in the year-ago period. Underlying profit before tax jumped to 256.0 million pounds from 216.1 million pounds.

Its sales climbed 13.0% to GBP1.29 billion, while like-for-like sales climbed 7.0%.

Hotels and Restaurants underlying profit climbed 15.0% to 225.0 million pounds.

Whitbread's comparable sales surged 9.6% at its Premier Inn chain and gained 6.1% at the coffee chain Costa in the UK.

The company projects full-year capital expenditure of about GBP500 million.

Whitbread raised the dividend to 25.20 pence versus 21.80 pence.

Richard Baker, Chairman said, “These results build on our strong growth in profits and dividends over the last five years and show the benefit of long term investment in our growth engines –Premier Inn and Costa.”

Whitbread shares gained 6.95% to close at $34.46 yesterday.


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