Paddy Power investors dealt a winning hand with payout
Paddy Power investors have been dealt a winning hand after the company reported record profits and unveiled plans to dish out over €392m (£385m) to shareholders.
Shares in the betting firm rocketed around 9% at one stage, sending them to an all-time high of more than €73m (£53m) and valuing the company at almost €3.6bn (£2.6bn).
Paddy Power, whose chief executive Andy McCue took over the role in January, said its pre-tax profit jumped 21% to €167m (£122m) in 2014, as revenue climbed 18% to €882m (£642m).
The company said it had notched up "strong momentum" in all online and retail metrics.
Speaking to investors, Mr McCue said that the company believed it was an "opportune time" to return cash to shareholders "given a confidence in the group's strong cash-flow generation, our assessment of our development pipeline and the favourable capital market conditions".
He insisted the decision to hand back cash "does not compromise future growth". The amount of bets placed by punters with Paddy Power last year rose 16% to just over €7bn (£5bn), while 77% of its €163.8m (£119m) in operating profit last year was generated online. Over half of online revenue was from mobile devices.