Whitbread has signed a 15-year franchise deal to launch 100 Costa Coffee outlets in the Balkans over the next five years.

Under the agreement, Delta, the Serbian retail group, will open and operate stores in Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Slovenia and Serbia. The first nine outlets under the agreement will open in Belgrade by the end of this year. Delta is expected to invest a total of E20m (£13.5m) in opening the stores over the next five years.

Whitbread, which currently operates just over 760 Costas in 19 countries, opened its first sites in Bulgaria, Romania and Poland earlier this year.

It plans to launch its first store under a franchise agreement in Greece later this month.

Judd Williams, franchise manager for Central and Eastern Europe at Costa, said: "With the help of our franchise partners around the world we plan to have more than 2,000 outlets open by 2011."