Friday 15 December 2017

Paddy Power boss pockets €6.8m win

Reward package boost for top brass

Roisin Burke

Paddy Power boss Patrick Kennedy has won big as his company released details of soaring profits in full year results.

Kennedy is €6.8m richer thanks to the sweetener incentive plan for top brass at the company, a long-term incentive plan based on stock that vested last week.

Paddy Power executive Jack Massey enjoyed a €1.7m retrospective reward under the same plan, which dates to 2010.

The reward package at the €3bn-valued company ties into share performance personal targets. Kennedy and current chief financial officer, ex-Ulster Bank boss Cormac McCarthy, and other lucky top lieutenants can also earn up to 50 per cent of already generous salaries in bonuses linked to personal and company performance.

Results for 2012 show pretax profits up 15 per cent to €139m.

The total amount of money staked by betters, both online and in bookies shops, rose 25 per cent to close at €5.7bn.

The morphing from a bookies into a technological powerhouse continues apace, with four new online ventures launched, including entering the Italian online market.

"We figured that any country where Beppe Grillo can get over 25 per cent of the popular vote has to be one that's open to the Paddy Power brand approach," said Kennedy.

He flagged a striking factoid that puts a frame on the power of online and social media for the company.

"Every man over the age of 18 on Facebook in Britain is now connected to at least one Paddy Power fan," he said. "The company says that means a capacity to target 13.6 million men through their friends."

In January Paddy Power was the third fastest-growing of all brands on Facebook in Britain.

The company acquired Cayetano in Bulgaria towards the end of 2011, an online and mobile games developer. Last Monday the first mobile game from Cayetano went live.

Smartphone betting has been particularly strong with the bookie emerging as a leader among its peers in this area, with 41 per cent of online sports-betting turnover last year coming through mobile.

However, old-fashioned, on-the-street bookie action is still strong for the business. The company opened up 47 shops in Ireland and Britain.

With antics like sky-messaging punters tweets of support for Rory McIlroy overhead at the Ryder Cup not coming cheap, marketing spend was up 33 per cent.

Active online customer numbers doubled in the last two years to 1.6 million punters placing 200 million bets in the last year.

Gaming, casino and bingo activity revenues grew by 23 per cent, with new products launched for mobile and tabloid.

In Ireland, retail activity came back with operating profits up by 32 per cent to €14.4m and strong activity in betting shops, although the average amount staked on a bet continued to fall.

In Britain, it was "a record trading and development year", Kennedy said, with operating profits up 29 per cent to just over €15m and a record 44 new shops opened. That could change, however, if a planned 15 per cent tax on betting, due to start next year, is introduced.

Here at home the government legislation to apply a one per cent tax levy to online betting is imminent. "That would have cost Paddy Power €6m in 2012," said Kennedy.

Irish Independent

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