Paddy Power hails Euro 2012 boost
Bookmaker Paddy Power's advertising antics during this summer's Euro 2012 football tournament have been rewarded with a 21% hike in half-year profits.
The bookie took 78 million euros (£61.9 million) in bets on Euro 2012 alone, helped by PR stunts such as its 100ft high statue modelled on Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer with England manager Roy Hodgson's face.
It also responded to Uefa's banning of vuvuzelas by building a giant working 'vuvutruck' and drew more media coverage when the Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner revealed the logo of the company on his pants while celebrating a goal in a group game.
The company said: "Every two years a major football tournament presents a great opportunity to showcase the Paddy Power offer, which we fully exploited during Euro 2012."
Pre-tax profits rose to 68.7 million euros (£54.5 million) in the six months to June 30, up from 56.2 million euros (£44.6 million) a year earlier.
The improvement came despite 5.6 million euros (£4.4 million) of money-back refunds on just four events, including Chelsea lifting the Champions' League trophy and England versus Italy going to penalties.
It also said it took a results "drubbing" in May, but blamed the hit on short-term volatility and said sports results were better than it would normally expect overall in the first half.
Like-for-like sales across its 185-strong UK retail estate grew 10%, but the amount left by losing punters rose by a more muted 0.3% to 10.8% against a 1.7% rise in Ireland to 12.2% as the UK shops saw a less favourable Euro 2012.
Growth in online bets lifted internet earnings by 1% in constant currency terms to 48.5 million euros (£38.5 million) - nearly three quarters of group profits. Paddy continued to invest in its online business, launching into the Italian online market in May - where it said it had already achieved a 4% share of the online sports betting market.
The group said it gained 6.1 million euros (£4.8 million) in gross win during the Euro 2012 tournament, but that operating profits growth would have been "marginal" given the money spent on marketing the Paddy Power brand.