Whitbread to put emphasis on food
This year Whitbread will lift its capital spending by 50 per cent to pounds 300m. Most of the money will be spent on Brewers Fayre, Beefeater, Pizza Hut and Travel Inn - businesses that Sir Michael Angus, chairman, said had 'proven their ability to grow profits'.
Whitbread's managed pubs, with their increasing bias towards food, and its restaurants and hotels provided the momentum behind a 5.8 per cent increase in pre- tax profits to pounds 231.7m in the year to 26 February, excluding non-operating items such as losses on disposals. The dividend is up 5.9 per cent to 18.8p with a final of 13.8p.
Interest charges also fell sharply from pounds 42.2m to pounds 25.1m, mainly reflecting the receipt of a net pounds 285m from the buyout of Whitbread Investment Trust and sale of shares in regional brewers. Profits were lowered by an extra pounds 15m charge to top up Whitbread's pension fund.
Excluding the pension charge, profits from Whitbread Inns, the managed pub operation, increased by 10 per cent to pounds 95.6m. Although beer volume per pub was static, higher margin cash sales rose by 20 per cent and food 15 per cent.
Restaurant and leisure profits led by Beefeater, rose by 18.4 per cent to pounds 57.9m despite the loss of profits - put at 'a few millions' by Alan Perelman, finance director - at Threshers Drinkstores because of imports from Europe.
Brewing profits edged ahead by 3.7 per cent to pounds 73m as a strong performance by premium brands and cost savings offset a 4 per cent drop in beer volume. Profit in Whitbread's leased estate fell by 12.3 per cent to pounds 50.1m, reflecting the sale of 400 pubs.
Bottom Line, page 26
- 1 Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
- 5 Zayn Malik quits One Direction: Hundreds of workers request compassionate leave following band member's exit
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Amanda Knox murder conviction: Italian court overturns verdict for US student and Raffaele Sollecito in the killing of Meredith Kercher
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
#FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
iJobs Money & Business
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...
£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...