Costa Coffee profits jump by 20%
Whitbread has dismissed suggestions that it should spin off or sell its fastest-growing business, Costa Coffee.
"We are really having a great success with Costa," the company's finance director Nicholas Cadbury said. "We are clearly doing something right with it and are good owners of the business. We have no plans to separate it off."
That view was underlined by Costa's 20% profit rise to £43.5m out of Whitbread's headline profit of £216m – up 12.6% – in the six months to the end of August.
The other growth engine, the hotel brand Premier Inn, grew revenues by 12% across the country and by 18% in London.
Profits at the hotels and restaurants division, which also includes Beefeater and Brewers Fayre, rose by 8% to £196m.
Whitbread said it was well on track to hit its targets, not just for the year to next March but also in the longer term, including plans to increase the number of Premier rooms by 50% to 75,000.
There are 10 Costa Coffee outlets in Northern Ireland, and Whitbread's Premier Inn has seven hotels in Northern Ireland.