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Whitbread swings to £724m statutory loss

Whitbread, the owner of Premier Inn, has reported a £724.7m statutory loss for the first half of the financial year.

Whitbread also reported that statutory revenue plummeted to £250.8m – under a quarter of the H1 FY20 figure. 

Whitbread said the losses were mainly driven by Covid-19, which directly accounted for £348.1m worth of impairments. 

The firm revealed that during the period of closure from the end of March until July and August only 39 hotels remained open for NHS staff and key workers. As such, adjusted revenue for these months was 99% behind the prior year.

It also said that while occupancy had increased back to 58% in September, local restrictions have since slowed growth.

However, as expected, H1 operating costs for the firm fell to £490.2m from £657.9m in H1 FY20. Cash expenditure has also fallen during the same period.

The firm added “with a strong balance sheet and liquidity position” the company remains confident of “long-term growth” that will “enhance” its market leadership position “even further in the UK”.

Alison Brittain, CEO of the business, said: “We hold a uniquely advantaged position in the UK market as the largest player with the strongest brand. Our financial flexibility and resilience, combined with a strong balance sheet, give us the ability and the confidence to invest with discipline and focus on strong long-term returns.”

The firm’s market position was enhanced in June via its successful £1bn rights issue.

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