Bookie posts 6pc fall in net revenue for first four months
Published 15/05/2010 | 05:00
BRITISH bookmaker Ladbrokes, which employs more than 1,700 people across Ireland, yesterday reported a sharp fall in revenue in the first four months of the year.
The drop was blamed on a decline in the amount of bets placed in its shops, in part due to January's bad weather.
The firm said net revenue fell 6pc, and included an 11pc drop in revenue from bets placed over the counter. Gross win (total bets minus payouts) from gambling machines rose by 1pc.
Group operating profit rose by 3pc between January and April.
Chief executive Richard Glynn, who joined the company last month, faces the challenge of rejuvenating the firm.
"It is an extremely competitive environment and I think that in both the offline and online arena we can see a clear case for Ladbrokes needing to regain its primacy," he said.
Mr Glynn said group profitability in the year to date was in line with its expectations but that the economy remained challenging.
Although he called next month's FIFA World Cup a "major event for the whole gambling industry", Mr Glynn declined to give a forecast on how much it would add to full-year profit.
Ladbrokes' shares, which have fallen 19pc over the last year, were down 0.60p (0.70c) to 150.2p (175.8c) yesterday afternoon.
KBC Peel Hunt analyst Nick Batram said an unimpressive revenue performance had been mitigated by cost improvement but questioned how the company would drive profit growth once cost-saving opportunities had been exhausted.
"The update highlights the recovery potential at Ladbrokes but identifying it and delivering it are two different things," Mr Batram said. "The new CEO may deliver a strategy to transform a lacklustre online performance, but right now [rival bookmaker] William Hill continues to look the better bet."