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Whitbread, owners of the UK's biggest hotel chain Premier Inn, reported a 24% rise in pre-tax profits for the first six months of its financial year.
The group said pre-tax earning from continuous operations were £123.3m for the six months to August 28 compared to £99.4m for the same period in 2007-8.Hotel revenue for the period was £311m, a rise of 17.8% on the figure of £264m for the same period in 2007-8, Whitbread said.Group revenue for the six months rose by 12.6% from £605m in 2007-8 to £682.2m.
Alan Parker, Whitbread's ceo, said: "We have made excellent progress in the first half of the year with strong sales and profits growth across the Group."Furthermore, improved productivity and cost management have helped increase the Group operating profit margin despite significant cost inflation."Whilst we anticipate that conditions will become more challenging in the remainder of the year, since the end of August the Group continues to make good progress across our leading brands in value for money sectors."Mr Parker said 1,380 new rooms were opened during the six months bringing the total to 37,231 in 532 hotels. He said the key driver to growth was new rooms and the group had a "strong pipeline of secured sites."He said the chain was also looking for other ways to expand including the purchase of other hotels, similar to the acquisition of 21 Express by Holiday Inns earlier this year.Visit www.whitbread.co.uk and www.premierinn.com.