Belfast Telegraph

EU vote 'no direct hit' to bingo owner

By Ravender Sembhy

Mecca Bingo operator Rank Group has said Britain's decision to quit the European Union will have "little or no direct impact" on its performance.

Rank, which recently pulled out of a joint bid with 888 for rival William Hill, said it will not be affected by the plunge in the pound as it is a predominantly UK-facing business.

It added that in the seven weeks to the middle of August, trading has "been positive and is in line with management's expectations".

However, Rank said: "Any likely impact would be driven by any macro-economic impact of lower UK growth rates or loss of consumer confidence and spending power."

The company, which also operates Grosvenor casinos, made the announcement alongside its full-year results, which saw pre-tax profits rise 15% to £85.5m. Revenue ticked up 1% to £708.5m across the group, while like-for-like sales at Mecca rose 2%.

Chief executive Henry Birch said: "Rank remains in a strong financial position, possesses market-leading brands and has a clear strategy for long-term growth. The board continues to look to the future with confidence."

Last week, Rank and 888 threw in the towel in their pursuit of William Hill, abandoning a £3.6bn three-way merger attempt. There will be no fresh bid over six months unless a rival bidder comes forward or William Hill asks the parties back.

Belfast Telegraph