Monday 5 December 2016

Ladbrokes spent €13m on Irish examinership

Published 24/02/2016 | 02:30

Ladbrokes said that its online division incurred overheads that were higher than expected.
Ladbrokes said that its online division incurred overheads that were higher than expected.

Ladbrokes said its Irish operations returned to profitability in the second half of 2015, following an examinership process last year that saw the group shut 53 of its 196 outlets here.

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The company said it incurred £3.8m (€4.8m) in legal and redundancy costs related to the examinership.

It also shouldered an additional £6.4m (€8.1m) exceptional charge that was mostly related to the Irish examinership, while the closure of the Irish shops also resulted in a £39.7m (€50.7m) non-cash impairment charge, Ladbrokes said yesterday.

Shares in UK gambling group Ladbrokes jumped as much as 6pc yesterday as it reported better than expected full-year results on the back of an improvement in its retail business.

Ladbrokes, which is awaiting regulatory approval for a £2.2bn (€2.8bn) merger with Coral Gala, said that its all-important online division - which has been struggling for some time - incurred overheads that were higher than analysts expected.

Ladbrokes said its group revenue rose 3.2pc to £1.19bn (€1.5bn) last year, while its group operating profit declined almost 36pc to £80.6m (€103m).

Revenue at its UK retail chain rose 2pc to £827.4m in 2015, while operating profit in the unit declined 2.7pc to £116.1m. That was better than analysts had anticipated, however.

Although revenue at its digital arm jumped 12.9pc to £242.8m, it reported an operating loss of £23.8m compared to a profit of £14m a year earlier.

Analysts at Davy Stockbrokers welcomed the results, but said online losses will continue to raise questions.

Ladbrokes is attempting to tie the knot with Gala Coral after Paddy Power and Betfair merged to create an €11bn powerhouse.

Among Ladbrokes' shareholders is financier Dermot Desmond. He criticised the planned merger with Gala Coral last year.

Ladbrokes expects a preliminary ruling from the UK's Competition and Markets Authority in late April.

Ladbrokes has already incurred close to £18m (€23m) in costs pursuing the merger.

In the Republic of Ireland, staking fell 7.8pc last year as it closed shops, while revenue was 16.5pc lower.

On a like-for-like basis, the remaining 143 shops recorded a 14.3pc increase in the amounts staked, and a 20.5pc increase in the second half.

Irish Independent

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