Belfast Telegraph

Bookmaking firm Ladbrokes announces 57% drop in earnings

By Holly Williams

Bookmaker Ladbrokes has disclosed a 57% plunge in third quarter earnings after being hit by higher gaming taxes and costs of a major marketing push.

The group, which has 20 stores in Northern Ireland, is waiting for regulatory clearance for a £2.3bn mega-merger with rival Gala Coral. It said UK revenues fell 0.7% in the three months to the end of September compared with a year earlier, when it was boosted by the football World Cup. Stripping this out, revenues were 2% higher.

Ladbrokes posted underlying earnings of £14.3m, less than half the £33m seen a year earlier, but stressed this reflected investment in a turnaround plan launched earlier this year.

Jim Mullen, chief executive of Ladbrokes, said: "These numbers reflect the first 68 days of activity since we announced our organic plan to aggressively invest and grow our recreational and multi-channel customer base, particularly across UK retail, and Ladbrokes Australia. It is early in our journey, but today's results reflect positive initial progress."

Its merger with Gala Coral will form a gambling giant with more than 4,000 shops and will see it overtake the UK's biggest bookmaker, William Hill. It comes amid a wave of consolidation in the sector, with Irish chain Paddy Power and online gambling group Betfair also set to join forces.

Belfast Telegraph