Business Irish

Friday 20 September 2019

Paddy Power Betfair shares slide as profits plunge 12pc

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John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Shares in gambling group Paddy Power Betfair tumbled yesterday after it reported a 12pc slump in its first quarter profits.

It blamed a "sustained period of bookmaker-friendly sports results from November to February and a high level of racing fixture cancellations" as profits fell to €80m.

It added that 14pc of total planned UK and Irish horse races were cancelled in the first quarter.

Customers hadn't recycled as much of their winnings from the fourth quarter of 2017 into betting in the first three months of 2018, it added.

Paddy Power Betfair's shares retreated more than 7pc in early trading. They regained some lost ground later but were still more than 4pc lower by mid-afternoon, despite confirmation from the company that it will initiate a £500m (€568.5m) share buyback.

On a constant currency basis, Paddy Power Betfair's revenue in the first quarter was flat, at €408m (€463.8m), and fell 2pc at actual rates.

CEO Peter Jackson insisted the group has made "good progress against our strategic priorities".

"Notwithstanding lower profits in the first quarter, we expect full year underlying ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) of between £470m and £495m (€534.4m to €562.8m)," he said.

Revenue at its retail outlets was hit by the snowstorm that closed its stores in Ireland for two days.

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