Whitbread buys 19 German hotels to copy Premier Inn success

FILE PHOTO: Signage for Premier Inn is seen on the outside of one of their hotels in London, Britain, March 30, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo/File Photo

(Reuters) - Whitbread Plc, Britain’s biggest hotel and coffee shop operator, said on Wednesday it had bought 19 hotels in Germany to expand its business beyond its base of Premier Inns in Britain.

The purchase from Foremost Hospitality Group GmbH for an undisclosed sum will eventually give it a total of 31 hotels in 15 cities in Germany expected to be open by the end of 2020.

Whitbread said it would continue to look for opportunities to expand in Germany through a mix of purchases and property development.

“We believe Germany has many of the structural growth drivers that have underpinned the success of Premier Inn in the UK and that Germany is a market that will deliver strongreturns in the future,” said Chief Executive Alison Brittain.

Whitbread said the German hotel market was 35 percent larger than the UK and similar to where the British market was 10 years ago, with a shift to branded hotel chains.

Reporting by Elisabeth O’Leary; editing by Kate Holton