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Morning Briefing Strap Line
Thu 16th Jan 2020 - Update: Whitbread trading, Stephen Glancey to retire
Whitbread reports its confidence is developing in Germany opportunity for Premier Inn: Whitbread has reported UK total sales growth 0.3% for the third quarter, marginally improving the year-to-date run rate. It said further development in Germany meant is had an open committed pipeline of almost 50 hotels. Alison Brittain, Whitbread chief executive, said: “Whitbread delivered a robust performance in the third quarter, growing total sales by 1%, despite challenging market conditions in the UK. We now have over 80,000 rooms in the UK and internationally, operating under the Premier Inn brand, with a committed pipeline of over 20,000 additional rooms. We also continue to achieve strong results from our efficiency programme, which is helping to partially offset high industry cost inflation and means we are on track to achieve our full year expectations for FY20. The UK business achieved total sales growth of 0.3% in the third quarter. Our performance in the quarter reflects a good F&B performance and marginally declining total accommodation sales. Weak business and leisure confidence in the regions continued, which was partially offset by the strength of the central London market, where we outperformed. Our growth in Germany remains firmly on target as our confidence strengthens for the long-term market opportunity. We are pleased with the performance of all three hotels we have opened to-date, in Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich, and continue to extend the total committed pipeline in Germany. The open plus committed pipeline now stands at around 8,500 rooms across 48 hotels, including 22 hotels from the Foremost Hospitality and AcomHotel acquisitions. We will be opening around 20 hotels through the course of 2020. Despite the short-term economic uncertainty, there remains significant long-term opportunities for Premier Inn in both the UK and Germany. We can access these due to our strong financial position, resilient model and ongoing investment to improve our market-leading proposition. Continuing to invest in growth and optimisation through our disciplined approach to capital allocation ensures we can create sustainable value for shareholders over the longer-term.” The company added: “Whitbread is confident in its plans given the significant structural growth opportunities in the UK and internationally. The UK political and economic environment remains uncertain and the sustained industry inflation continues. It remains difficult to predict business confidence in the short-term and its impact on the market. However, Whitbread’s strong balance sheet, efficiency programme, resilient business model and ongoing investment puts it in a strong relative position to benefit as the environment improves.”

C&C Group chief executive Stephen Glancey to retire: C&C Group has reported that chief executive Stephen Glancey has informed the board that he wishes to retire. The company stated: “He will step down as chief executive with immediate effect and will be leaving the company at the end of February. Stephen will, however, continue to be available to assist with effecting a smooth handover. A search for Stephen’s successor will commence shortly. Stewart Gilliland has been appointed interim executive chairman with immediate effect to ensure continuity of executive leadership. The board confirms that trading across the group for the four months to 31 December 2019 has been in line with the board’s expectations, including through the key Christmas trading period and remains on track to deliver double-digit EPS growth for FY2020.” Stewart Gilliland, interim executive chairman, added: “The board would like to thank Stephen for his significant contribution to C&C over many years. The company is well positioned to continue to implement its established strategy to deliver value for shareholders and Stephen will continue to be available to help facilitate a smooth handover.”

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