Belfast Telegraph

Ladbrokes owner GVC scores World Cup profit

Revenue jumped 8% to £1.7 billion.

Profits at Ladbrokes owner GVC were boosted by the World Cup in the first half of the year, helping offset woes linked to the Beast from the East.

The sports betting and gaming group, which completed its £4 billion acquisition of Ladbrokes Coral in March, posted a pre-tax profit of £113.6 million in the six months to June 30, compared to a loss of £22.8 million last year.

Revenue jumped 8% to £1.7 billion and operating profit rose 17% to £278 million.

Like-for-like retail sales in the UK were down 3% as GVC pointed to “poor weather”, but it added they would have been much worse without a lift from the World Cup.

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The World Cup, in which England reached the semi-finals, helped boost profits at GVC (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Sales were dented by extreme weather in the first quarter, with horse racing cancellations hitting the firm’s performance.

A total of 12% of all horse racing fixtures cancelled due to the Beast from the East were in the first three months of the year.

GVC reiterated that a Government move to cut the maximum stake for fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) to £2 could see around 1,000 Ladbrokes Coral shops shut.

“We await a decision from the Government on an implementation date, but we expect enactment of the new legislation to be complete by the end of the calendar year,” the group said.

Bookmakers across the board expect to take a hit.

GVC boss Kenneth Alexander also said the firm has identified more cost savings linked to the Ladbrokes deal.

“Strong momentum in online and European retail has continued, and a positive World Cup helped improve trends in UK retail in the second quarter.

“We have now identified capex synergies of at least £30 million in addition to the £130 million cost synergies and we are well placed to deliver those savings while driving top line growth.”

GVC shares were down almost 1% in morning trade at 1,052p.

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