250 jobs to go as Ladbrokes seeks to shut 60 shops
UK betting group Ladbrokes is expected to cut 250 jobs in Ireland after the company put its business here into examinership.
Ladbrokes said an interim examiner had been appointed to "safeguard" the loss-making Irish operation.
The company employs 840 people in Ireland in 196 shops.
It is expected that 60 of its outlets will be closed, resulting in the loss of 250 jobs.
The company is likely to try to secure as many of the job cuts as possible through voluntary redundancies.
"The restructuring is likely to lead to redundancies at all levels of the operation," the company said.
Ladbrokes said the exact number of job losses would depend on how its Irish stores are restructured.
The group said profits here have been declining for years, and last year the division made a €5m loss.
Ladbrokes successfully applied to the High Court for an examiner, Ken Farrell of Deloitte, to be appointed to the business.
Ladbrokes chief executive Jim Mullen described the decision to apply for examinership in Ireland as "regrettable".
"The action taken today by the directors of the Irish companies is to safeguard the Irish business which in its current state is not sustainable and cannot be supported by the Ladbrokes board without radical change, having lost its competitive edge," he said.
"In entering the process, our aim is to build a sustainable and competitive business based in Ireland, run from Ireland, investing in Ireland and supporting the Irish economy and sporting industry while delivering for shareholders."
Staff at the Irish division were briefed yesterday, and there will be further discussions this week.
Jackie Murphy, the retail director of Ladbrokes (Ireland), said the decision to appoint an examiner was the result of a strategic review following a number of loss-making years for the business here.
"The examinership relates solely to our retail operations and has no impact on Ladbrokes telephone and digital services," he said.
"We are fully committed to work with our staff through this difficult time and would hope the vast majority of any redundancies will be voluntary.
"It will be business as usual with shops taking and paying bets as normal while this process is ongoing."
Ladbrokes has labelled the review of its Irish business Project Athru.
It drafted in a team of crack troubleshooters in February to decide how to restructure its operation.
The Irish betting market is extremely competitive, but rival Paddy Power has fared much better in ensuring its retail outlets remain profitable.
Ladbrokes has had to cope with expensive leases, many of which would have been signed during the boom years and do not reflect current market rents.