Ladbrokes shares fall on poor online results
SHARES in Ladbrokes fell the most in 15 months after the UK operator of about 2,100 betting shops said full-year earnings from online gambling may be less than half the amount predicted by analysts.
"Our digital earnings have been disappointing, reflecting a lack of competitiveness in sportsbook, lower margins than planned and a greater disruptive impact than expected from the transition necessary," chief executive Richard Glynn said.
Operating profit before exceptional items from the online unit will be £10m (€11.8m) to £14m this year, while the average analyst estimate had predicted £27.5m by that measure. The shares fell as much as 9.9pc during trading, the biggest decline since June 2012 and the lowest price since August last year..
Ladbrokes had "apparent disarray" in its digital operations, said Ivor Jones, an analyst at Numis Securities who had predicted online earnings of £28m. Mr Jones cut his full-year estimate of earnings before interest and taxes for the whole company by 16pc to £144m.
Ladbrokes shares have fallen about 13pc this year, while William Hill, another operator of both betting shops and online gaming, has gained 26pc. Paddy Power is down 4.3pc this year.
After a "difficult" July, footfall at Ladbrokes retail outlets has recovered, with "significant improvement" in amounts wagered, Ladbrokes said.