Sunday 17 November 2019

Ladbrokes to slash 250 jobs in Ireland as losses mount

Ladbrokes boss Jim Mullen
Ladbrokes boss Jim Mullen
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

UK betting group Ladbrokes will axe 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 across 196 shops.

It's believed that 60 of its Irish 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, however.

"The restructuring is likely to lead to redundancies at all levels of the operation," according to the company.

Ladbrokes said the exact number of job losses would depend on how its Irish stores are restructured.

The group said profits at its Irish business had been declining for years, and that last year the division made a €5m loss.

Ladbrokes successfully applied to the High Court yesterday for an examiner, Ken Farrell of Deloitte, to be appointed 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.

Mr Mullen added: "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 of the restructuring plans with them this week.

The examinership process can last up to 100 days.

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 in Ireland.

"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 all our staff through this difficult time and would hope that the vast majority of any necessary 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 troubleshooters back in February to decide how to restructure the Irish arm.

The Irish betting market is extremely competitive, but Ladbrokes 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 which don't reflect current market rents.

Irish Independent

Also in Business