Whitbread's Premier Inn loss could Costa lot

Whitbread, the owner of Costa Coffee, is set to suffer a slowdown in revenue growth at its Premier Inn budget hotels this year, despite a leap in profit this week.

Simon French, an analyst at Panmure Gordon, has forecast a 1 per cent fall in Premier Inn's revenue per available room (revpar)– a key performance indicator for the hotel industry. He added that last week's sales update from rival Accor "suggested that Whitbread may be losing market share".

But, Whitbread is expected to post a 9 per cent rise in pre-tax profit to £314.2m for 2011-12, driven by a strong performance from both Premier Inn and Costa. Premier increased its like-for-like revpar by 2.2 per cent, while Costa has delivered more than 40 quarters of consecutive underlying sales growth.

Whitbread is expected to increase its full-year dividend by 11 per cent to 49.3p.