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Thursday, 4 May, 2000, 10:37 GMT 11:37 UK
Whitbread promises jobs boost
Whitbread is to concentrate on the hotel and leisure industry
Brewing and leisure group Whitbread has announced plans to create more than 500 new jobs in Scotland as a part of 22m investment in hotels, restaurants and bars.

The group's plans include two new Pizza Hut restaurants in Ayr and Dunfermline, 10 new Costa Coffee bars and the re-branding of the group's recently purchased Swallow Hotels.

Whitbread is also aiming to capitalise on the success of its TGI Fridays and Travel Inn brands across Scotland.

The announcement comes as the company reveals pre-tax profits of 391.2m for the financial year ending 4 March, an increase of 25.9m on the previous year.
A new Brewers Fayre pub will open

The group has been restructuring its business, moving out of brewing to concentrate on the hotel and leisure market.

It will create 100 new jobs with two new Pizza Hut restaurants in Ayr and Dunfermline.

Existing site

In Glasgow the group is investing 2.5m in a new Brewers Fayre and will plough a further 4m into a 60-bedroom Travel Inn and Beefeater.

These should create more than 150 jobs in the city.

Aberdeen is benefiting from a new TGI Fridays restaurant which will open in July, adding 65 jobs.

The Inverness Swallow Hotel and Edinburgh's Royal Scot will be re-branded as Marriott hotels and the company has also pledged to open a further David Lloyd Leisure centre to complement its existing site in Edinburgh.

The group also plans to spend more than 3m to open 10 new Costa Coffee bars at locations across the country.

The planned investment will bring the company's total employment in Scotland to just over 6,500.

Increased market share

Chairman Sir Michael Angus said: "This reshaping of the company by expanding in areas with growth potential and disposing of operations with limited prospects has been taking place for several years and is expected to continue."

Whitbread is now the UK's second largest hotels group in Britain following the acquisition of the Swallow Group in January and the addition of a further 26 hotels into its Travel Inn network.

The company said trading in the second half of its financial year ending March 4 was particularly strong and the Whitbread Beer Company grew its market share to 16%.

Whitbread said the performance of its Stella Artois beer brand was "outstanding" and its sales volume passed the two million barrel mark for the first time last year.

Stella is now the fifth biggest grocery brand in terms of sales value in the UK after Coca Cola, Nescafe, Walkers and Persil.

Turnover was 3.69bn against 3.39bn last year. The total dividend payment to shareholders will be 29.5p compared with 21.85p a year earlier.

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See also:

23 Aug 99 | The Company File
Punch pub takeover approved
05 May 99 | The Company File
Whitbread's profits rise
01 Jul 99 | The Company File
Big is beautiful for brewers
22 Nov 99 | Business
Whitbread bids for Swallow
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