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Whitebread plans hundreds of hotels in China, India in 5 years

Whitebread plans hundreds of hotels in China, India in 5 years
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First Published: Fri, May 11 2007. 05 19 PM IST
Updated: Fri, May 11 2007. 05 19 PM IST
Whitbread Plc, operator of the Premier Travel Inn budget hotel chain, aims to have “several hundred” hotels in India and China in five years time, Chief Executive Officer Alan Parker said on 11 May.
“In our budget hotel business we’re looking at the emerging markets of India and China in particular,” Parker said today in an interview at the Global Travel and Tourism Summit in Lisbon. “The party’s just beginning and we’re going to play a pretty big role in it.” Whitbread will have “several hundred” hotels in the two countries in five years time, he said.
Whitbread’s Premier Travel Inn chain plans to have 50,000 rooms throughout the world by 2010. The Luton, England-based company has started building its first hotel in Dubai as part of a joint venture with Emirates Group, and has identified more sites in the Gulf region.
“The budget end is really going to be where the hot action is in the years ahead,” Parker said today. “The world is getting a pretty big supply of four and five-star hotels right now but what it really lacks is cheap, comfortable, good value-for-money accommodation.”
The shares fell 14 pence, or 0.7%, to 1875 pence at 11:46 a.m. in London. Whitbread’s stock has added 65 percent in the last year, giving the company a market value of 3.7 billion pounds.
Whitbread’s annual profit increased 6% to 281.8 million pounds ($557.8 million) in the year to March, as more people stayed at its hotels. Premier Travel Inn sales rose 17%.
Whitbread is considering proposals from potential buyers of its David Lloyd health-club chain.
“We’re evaluating the substance” of the unsolicited offers, Parker said today. “It’s a great business and it’s never been worth more to our shareholders than it is right now.”
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First Published: Fri, May 11 2007. 05 19 PM IST
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