Whitbread stocks up on profits news

<p>Profits are up at Costa and Premier Inn owner Whitbread.</p>

The share price of Whitbread has risen this morning (April 29th) after the company revealed an increase in the dividend paid to shareholders as part of its financial results.

It was announced by the company, which owns Costa Coffee and hotel chain Premier Inn among other top brands, that it made a pre-tax profit of £347 million in the year to February 27th.

Whitbread revealed in a statement that group revenue rose 13 per cent compared to the previous 12-month period, while total sales at Costa rose by more than 20 per cent and there was a 13.4 per cent rise for Premier Inn in the same period.

The firm is continuing with its ambitious growth programme, announcing it opened 177 new UK Costa outlets in the year, which means that there are now 1,755 coffee shops around the country. Whitbread said that it now expects to increase the number of UK Costa Coffee outlets to over 2,200 by 2018.

"I am confident that the brand strength of Premier Inn and Costa will continue to fuel the company's growth into the future," said Whitbread chairman Anthony Habgood.

Hotel openings

A net 23 new hotels were opened by the Premier Inn chain over the course of the 12-month period, which means Whitbread now runs a total of 672 premises across the UK.

Investors responded positively to the news, with the share price of Whitbread rising strongly in the early stages of trading on the London Stock Exchange this morning. By 08:31 BST, stocks in the company were up by 1.38 per cent compared to the opening of the session.

As well as Costa Coffee and Premier Inn, Whitbread is the owner of some of the most recognisable brands in the UK, including restaurant chains such as Brewers Fayre and Beefeater, as well as Taybarns and Table Table. Costa is arguably the firm's biggest success story and the brand is described by Whitbread as the fastest growing coffee shop chain in the UK. It also spans globally, operating in 27 countries.

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