Ladbrokes Coral's performance on track despite difficult month for betting industry
Betting giant Ladbrokes Coral has defied the "sporting gods" to remain in line for a hike in profits, despite a "savage" December for horse-racing and football results.
The group, created from the £2.3bn merger of Ladbrokes and Gala Coral in October, saw surging online revenues help it overcome a tough end to the year, when a number of favourites came out on top.
Ladbrokes said it suffered its worst week of the year for football last month, with nine of the 11 domestic favourites winning over two days, and all four of the top Premier League teams winning on Boxing Day.
In horse-racing, the two feature races at Kempton Park on Boxing Day were won by the favourites, with further wins by favourites in Ireland and Wales.
Rival William Hill last week revealed a £20m hit to its profits after it too was hit by the harsh December.
Ladbrokes said: "December will ultimately be remembered for a savage end to the year thanks to the major Christmas race meetings and a bleak set of football results around the holiday period.
"Whilst not quite as bad as 2014, it was a very disappointing end to the calendar year."
Chief executive Jim Mullen welcomed "an encouraging start to the life of Ladbrokes Coral Group", with profits remaining on track.
"While the sporting gods did not look favourably on us in the period, it is pleasing to report that the business continued to perform well," he said.