BOOKMAKER Paddy Power has reported a strong start to 2015 in a period when sports results have been unfavourable across the sector.
"This has been offset for Paddy Power by strong top-line growth, particularly in Australia," it said in an interim management statement.
"We have completed a strategic review of the Group's Italian business.
"We have identified substantial operational improvements and we see the market as attractive over the medium to long term," it added.
The company added that former Smurfit Kappa executive Gary McGann will become new chairman at the firm replacing Nigel Northridge who steps down in June
Breaking down different sectors, the company said that in online, sports betting stakes grew by 24pc and total net revenue by 36pc while the retail division showed sports betting stakes grew by 14pc and total net revenue by 21pc.
"While sports results have improved relative to the comparative period, they were below our normal expectations, most particularly in our telephone channel.
"Total group sports betting stakes increased by 21pc with net revenue up 28pc for sports betting and 26pc overall."
It added that weakness in the euro relative to the comparative period continues to help offset the impact of new taxes and regulations this year, with Group net revenue up 35pc on a non-constant currency basis.
Davy Stockbrokers said today it's likely the company will beat its year-end EBIT forecast of €167m, a figure that was already 4pc above current consensus. With that in mind, we reiterate our ‘outperform’ rating on the stock.