Paddy Power expects to breach 500 jobs target as group expands
Betting firm revises forecast after its online profits surge
Betting group Paddy Power expects to create significantly more than the 500 Irish jobs it announced last year following a surge in use and profitability at its online business.
Releasing interim results yesterday that showed a 14pc rise in operating profit to €56.2m for the first six months of the year -- 81pc of which was generated from internet and mobile platforms -- Paddy Power chief executive Patrick Kennedy confirmed the group would have to sizeably boost its workforce here.
Last November, Paddy Power announced it would create 500 new jobs at its Dublin operations by the end of 2013 to support its international online operations in the UK, Australia and France. That was part of an overall plan to create close to 1,500 jobs by the end of 2013 across the entire group.
"It's going to be substantially more," Mr Kennedy said of the expected number of new hires for the Irish operation by the end of 2013.
He pointed out that, since the beginning of the year, Paddy Power had already added 300 new jobs -- about 160 of them at its Tallaght, Dublin headquarters and mainly in technology and e-commerce positions.
The paddypower.com business had 704,000 active customers at the end of June, up 48pc on the figure 12 months previously. Just more than one-third of customers are now using their mobile devices to make bets with Paddy Power.
In Australia, where Paddy Power owns Sportsbet and IASbet, it had 131,000 active online clients.
The total amounts staked by Paddy Power customers across all its operations climbed 18pc in the first half of the year to €2.25bn, while the company's gross win was ahead 18pc year-on-year at €242m.
But its Irish retail operation had a tough first half, weighed down by the economic downturn and a string of results, mainly at the Cheltenham festival, which lined punters' pockets.
The amounts staked at its more than 200 outlets here rose 2pc to €483m but operating profit sank 44pc to €5.1m.
Mr Kennedy said that the depth of the downturn could be evidenced in the fact that four years ago Paddy Power generated a €35m profit from its Irish stores.
In the UK, amounts staked at its more than 140 shops rose 34pc in the first half, while operating profit at the outlets was up 59pc to €4.7m.
The company has also been trialling automated betting terminals at 30 of its Irish outlets, having rolled them out across its entire retail estate in the UK.
Mr Kennedy said that, to date, the success of the terminals had been hit and miss, but that it would take more time to determine usage patterns.
With shares in Paddy Power having risen over 31pc in the past year to roughly €35, Mr Kennedy ruled out a share split, noting that 70pc of the stock was owned by institutions and a further 15pc by the board and senior management.