Whitbread says Costa Coffee spin off making ‘good progress’

A Cappuccino stands on a table at a branch of Costa coffee in Manchester northern England, March 18, 2016. (Phil Noble/Reuters)
Updated 27 June 2018

Whitbread says Costa Coffee spin off making ‘good progress’

LONDON: Britain’s Whitbread said on Wednesday it had made “good progress” in Costa Coffee’s demerger as it reported a dip in first-quarter sales in its British stores.
Costa Coffee will be spun off after Whitbread yielded to pressure from hedge funds, including activist investor Elliott Investors, who argued it was being held back by being grouped with the Premier Inn hotel chain.
“Constructive early steps have been taken in preparation for the demerger and good progress continues to be made on the core infrastructure and efficiency work that was already underway,” the company said in a statement.
Whitbread said it expects to deliver full-year results in line with expectations, adding that it would provide an update on the demerger in October.
Total UK sales rose 3.5 percent but comparable sales at Costa Coffee fell 2 percent compared with a 1.1 percent rise last year.
Whitbread, which has a hotel business in Germany and a coffee chain in China, said its hotel chain Premier Inn saw a 0.9 fall in like-for-like sales due to a drop in visitors to London.
Costa, founded in London in 1971, has expanded rapidly since it was acquired by Whitbread in 1995.
However, over the last two years, the company has felt the pinch from higher inflation and low real wage growth in its home market.


Russia’s Lukoil lifts Iraq output as it swings to profit

Updated 25 November 2020

Russia’s Lukoil lifts Iraq output as it swings to profit

  • Lukoil claims to account for about 2 percent of global oil production

MOSCOW: Russian oil producer Lukoil said on Tuesday that it had reversed a loss into a profit of 50.4 billion roubles ($664 million) in the third quarter thanks to a rise in oil prices, while it had boosted oil output in Russia and Iraq.

Lukoil has faced a pandemic fallout as well as a weaker rouble, which has inflated its debt, denominated in foreign currencies. The company’s output has been also constrained by a global deal on production curbs.

The company had finished the second quarter with a loss of 18.7 billion roubles.

Lukoil said on Tuesday that it had started to boost its output at West Qurna-2 oil field in Iraq from the middle of October, by around 30,000 barrels per day (bpd), after cuts of around 70,000 bpd from May 1 and by 50,000 bpd more from mid-June, in accordance with the deal.

Lukoil, whose largest shareholders are its head, Vagit Alekperov, and vice president Leonid Fedun, also said it had raised its oil output in Russia.

The company said sales rose to 1.46 trillion roubles in the July — September quarter from 986.4 billion roubles in April-June.

The growth was mainly attributable to higher hydrocarbon prices, higher production of refined products at the group’s refineries, as well as higher trading and retail sales volumes, Lukoil said in a statement.

The company also began to recover its natural gas production in Uzbekistan in September.