July 22, 2020 / 11:45 AM / 17 days ago

Exclusive: Whitbread may cut 250 head office roles in proposed restructuring

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

(Reuters) - Whitbread (WTB.L) may cut around 250 head office roles as part of a proposed restructuring, the Premier Inn-owner said on Wednesday as it navigates through the coronavirus crisis, which had earlier shut all of its hotels.

“Whilst we’re delighted to re-open our doors, we are acutely aware that demand and revenue remain reduced. We anticipate this will be the case for some time to come,” a company spokeswoman told Reuters.

Travel and leisure businesses have been among the worst hit by the pandemic, with billions of dollars in business trips and holidays cancelled as countries imposed sweeping restrictions.

Whitbread, which has around 1,300 head office employees, said that some of the proposed job losses will be offset with the creation of around 75 new roles and that final numbers will be confirmed in September.

The owner of brands such as Premier Inn, Beefeater, Brewers Fayre and Bar + Block has cut costs, completed a 1 billion pound ($1.27 billion) rights issue and utilised government support to weather the crisis.

The 278-year company said on Wednesday it had no income while its hotels and restaurants were in hibernation, which had a considerable effect on its cash outflow.

Earlier this month, the company said it had opened more than 270 hotels and some 24 restaurants of its more than 1,200 Premier Inn hotels and pubs across the UK. It has also opened all of its hotels in Germany.

Whitbread had also reported an 80% fall in first-quarter like-for-like UK sales.

Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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