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24 April, 2007 - 10:27 By Staff Reporter

Whitbread pre-tax profits beat analysts' expectations

Leisure giant, Whitbread has announced a 24.5 per cent increase on pre-tax profits for the full year, with the posted £213m beating analysts' expectations of £204-212m.

Whitbread said that the current year had started well, with momentum gained during the final quarter continuing into the new year. Group revenue for the group was up 10.3 per cent to £1.3bn, it added.

In light of its balance sheet review, the group said it was considering a £400m increase in leverage, ruling out a sale and leaseback agreement or real estate investment trust for its property portfolio, which was independently valued at £3.6bn.

The firm also said that while it is in the process of evaluating approaches for David Lloyd, the ongoing turnaround of the racket sport business is underpinning performance.

“We are evaluating them at the moment and considering them against the opportunity to retain David Lloyd and create value for shareholders in that way. This business is currently not for sale, but we have received offers and we are looking at them seriously,” said chief executive, Alan Parker.

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