Paddy Power to create 500 new jobs over next three years
Betting firm Paddy Power is to create 500 new jobs in Ireland over the next three years and almost half of them will be filled by the end of 2011.
Announcing plans yesterday to hire almost 1,500 additional staff across Ireland, the UK and Australia, the bookmaker said it will hire 375 staff at its head office in Dublin and 125 in its retail outlets by the end of 2013.
Paddy Power chief executive Patrick Kennedy said the company's "strong home-grown expertise" had opened doors to markets in the UK, Australia and France.
The company employs 725 people at its head office in Tallaght.
Apart from the jobs, Mr Kennedy said the Irish exchequer would benefit from the group's corporation tax payments, which yielded €41m for the State's coffers last year, while a proposed internet tax would provide a further boost.
The company made the jobs announcement as it upped its profit guidance yesterday and said that its business here performed in line with expectations during the past four months even as economic conditions became "more challenging".
The Irish market accounts for about one-third of Paddy Power's operating profit.
Paddy Power said that the total amount staked by punters in its retail outlets in Ireland during the period from July 1 to November 15 declined 5pc, while on a like-for-like basis the figure was down 8pc. However, the all-important gross win was 9pc higher.
Davy Stockbrokers had been expecting a flat return for the period.
Irish gamblers wagered €476m in Paddy Power outlets here in the first six months of this year, which was unchanged year-on-year, while in 2009 they bet more than €949m in Paddy Power stores.
In an interim management statement, the company upgraded its guidance and said that it expected underlying earnings per share growth in the current year of between 35pc and 40pc. That's ahead of the 30pc growth that had previously been expected.
In the UK, the amount staked at Paddy Power outlets rose 1pc on a like-for-like basis, while the total gross win was up 17pc.
The group's overall online business, excluding internet operations in Australia, recorded a 34pc rise in the amount staked during the period, while the gross win was 33pc higher.
In its Australian internet business, the total amount staked was up 6pc and the gross online win was 70pc higher.
The Australian federal court has also reversed a decision made in favour of Paddy Power's Sportsbet subsidiary that had originally ruled that a 1.5pc turnover-based "race fields" fee levied by authorities in New South Wales was protectionist and invalid.
Sportsbet has been ordered to pay a "seven-figure sum" in costs, according to the group.
Analyst David Jennings at Davy Stockbrokers said that he won't be increasing his 2011 estimates for Paddy Power in light of an "uncertain economic backdrop", particularly in Ireland.
However, he said the group remained his "top pick" in the sector, with a fair value on the stock of €36.20.
Shares in Paddy Power closed flat at €28.90 yesterday in Dublin.