Belfast Telegraph

Gala Coral beats tax hit with 8% rise in earnings

By John-Paul Ford Rojas

Bookmakers-to-bingo group Gala Coral reported an 8% rise in quarterly earnings despite taking a £16m hit on gambling tax changes and new regulations.

The group - which is preparing for a £2.3bn merger with Ladbrokes, excluding its Gala Bingo business - estimated the tax and regulations blow would cost it more than £46m for the full year.

But third-quarter earnings for the 12 weeks to July 4 rose to £65.7m, despite comparing with a period last year when business was boosted by the World Cup. Revenues rose 5.6% to £305m.

Chief executive Carl Leaver said: "This continued positive momentum is a direct result of our focus on product innovation and a disciplined approach to marketing, together with the significant capital investment made across the business over the last few years."

Ladbrokes and Coral may be required to divest themselves of 600 branches in the event of a merger.

Co Armagh man John Boyle, of Irish bookmaker Boylesports, was considering a bid for the 600 shops, but a spokesman said there was no update on his intentions.

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