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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 October 2007, 07:28 GMT 08:28 UK
Whitbread boosted by coffee chain
Costa Coffee cups
Whitbread has been expanding internationally
Leisure firm Whitbread has reported better-than-expected half-year profits, boosted by growth in its coffee outlets and budget hotels.

Profit before tax for the six months to 26 August was 99.4m, up 13.3% compared with the same period a year earlier.

The firm now has 825 Costa coffee stores, a rise of 118 since the end of 2006, of which 71 are UK-based.

Whitbread is expanding its hotel line in the UK and overseas, and is planning to expand in India.

The firm will also launch its first hotel in Dubai in the spring of 2008.

Like-for-like overall sales increased by 6.3% - "the highest level in recent years" the firm said.

"The growth has been driven by increased revenue in all three of our business, led by Premier Inn and Costa," said Alan Parker, Whitbread chief executive.

As part of its expansion in the hotel sector, it announced the acquisition of Tulip Inn UK for 44m in September, which will add 2,000 rooms to its Premier Inn chain.

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