Whitbread, an operator of hotels, restaurants and coffee shops, stood by its expansion plans in the UK and international markets, after posting a near 12% rise in full-year profit. 

The company owns the Premier Inn hotels and Costa Coffee chains. 

Alison Brittain, who took over from previous CEO Andy Harrison in January, voiced her support for Whitbread's previous 2020 milestones of about 85,000 Premier Inn UK rooms and about £2.5 billion systems sales for Costa. 

To further capitalise on demand, Whitbread last year increased its expansion targets for both businesses, with greater exposure in London, a key focus for Premier Inn and overseas sales at Costa. 

Brittain today rejected speculations that the company could sell off Costa Coffee. The chain has grown to have over 3,000 outlets across the world, including several in Ireland. 

"We are all very clear that Whitbread has been a great owner of Costa and given that track record and our future plans, there's no compelling reason to change Costa's ownership structure at this time," Brittain said.

Whitbread said total sales at Premier Inn rose 12.9% in the 53 weeks to March 3, with group sales rising 12%. 

Total Costa Coffee sales grew 15.9% with a 2.9% increase in UK like-for-like sales. 

The CEO said she believes that the coffee drinking market has not reached its peak and that there is still more momentum left.