- Premier Inn hotel chain owner Whitbread has reported revenue increased 1.1% to £2.1bn in its full-year 2020 results but has seen revenues down 75% since then, as trading in the period subsequent to the year-end has been adversely impacted by COVID-19.

Whitbread announced that in the 11-week period to 14 May 2020, total accommodation and F&B revenues were down 75% year-on-year, and that following the closure of all its restaurants and the majority of its hotel network on the government's guidance at the end of March, total accommodation and F&B revenues were down 99% in the last seven weeks.

The hotel chain owner has suspended its dividend payment and announced its intention to raise £1bn by way of a fully underwritten rights issue, launched today (21 May), alongside 18-month covenant waivers.

Whitbread said that in the first half of the financial year ending 25 February 2021, it expects approximately £80m of operational cash outflows per month during the period when its hotels and restaurants are closed or operating at low occupancy and £100m working capital cash outflows from refunding customer deposits.

In its full-year results for 2020, the company reported adjusted pre-tax profit fell by 8.2% to £358m, citing weaker UK travel market conditions, the high rate of industry-wide inflation, and the start-up nature of its German operations.

Statutory pre-tax profit climbed 28.4% during the year to £280m and statutory profit for the year increased 23.2% to £218m, primarily due to separation costs incurred in the prior year from the disposal of the Costa business, it said.

The company confirmed that approximately 27,000 staff have been furloughed and remain on full pay, while the board and management team have taken voluntary pay cuts and the company said it has made use of UK and German government support packages.

Chief executive Alison Brittain said: 'The commercial initiatives we implemented during H1 helped drive a particularly strong end to the year, when we were trading ahead of the market and achieving very strong guest scores.

'In Germany, we completed the acquisition of the Foremost Hotels on 28 February 2020, growing the number of open and pipeline hotels to 52.' Brittain added: 'However, the period after the year-end has been dominated by the impact of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic.'

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