Northwest Bookmakers is the recently expanded business now owned by Ladbrokes Holdings (NI) which is, in turn, a subsidiary of parent company Ladbrokes plc.
This business brings together the betting businesses formerly owned by Eastwoods and McCartans.
The purchase of these businesses had its full impact in 2008 and turnover continued to increase in 2009. As a result of the investment during 2008, Northwest Bookmakers added intangible assets (business licences and goodwill) valued at £124m to its balance sheet. The purchase was financed by registering a credit with the parent company which, at the end of 2008, was owed £125m.
The company says that its strategy is to continue to expand its presence in Northern Ireland through the Ladbrokes brand. The company owns 24% of the shop betting licences issued here.
Comparison of the profitability in 2008 and 2009 is made more complex by a reversal in 2009 of an impairment charge of more than £380,000, which was deducted from the 2008 profit figures.
Nevertheless, operating profit in 2009 was just under 3% of turnover, compared to 4% a year earlier. Large interest charges on the borrowed funds affected pre-tax profits in both years — £1.4m in 2009 and £5.6m in 2008.
Employment in the company rose to average 473 people in 2008 and was maintained nearly unchanged in the following year.