Ladbrokes got conditional approval for a merger with Coral last month
By Mark Scully 7:30AM 4 AUG 2016
LADBROKES on Thursday announced a headline operating profit of £52.3 million for the first half of 2016, up 34.4 per cent on the same period of last year.
The bookmaker’s profit before tax to the period ending June 30 came in at £39.8 million, up 61.1 per cent on the first half of 2015, with profit after tax up 57.2 per cent to £34.9 million.
Last month, the Competition and Markets Authority granted conditional clearance for Ladbrokes to merge with rival Coral and chief executive Jim Mullen believes the results position the business well for that step.
“These strong numbers show customers are responding positively to the new strategy at a time when the sporting gods have generally been on our side and we’ve enjoyed some helpful bookmaker friendly results,” he said. “This combination has helped boost profits in the first half of the year.
“History would strongly dictate that such a run of results in our favour would see customer staking suffer, but encouragingly these numbers firmly buck that trend and combine strong staking and a good margin.
“However, 130 years of experience in sports betting has shown us that we will endure a run of customer friendly results and margins will normalise. Despite this assumption on results and our intention to continue investing in marketing, we have slightly increased our full year expectations.”
‘This is an exciting time’
Mullen also took heart from Ladbrokes’ continued growth in Australia and the company’s cash flow generation, with net debt down to £227.2 million, compared to £414.3 million after the first half of 2016.
“Encouragingly we have delivered a good performance across all the key customer metrics outlined in last year’s strategic plan and that gives us confidence that we are well placed to deliver against our stated 2017 targets,” he said. “However, we are taking nothing for granted.
“With the merger on the horizon we recognise there is a lot of hard work still to come, but this is an exciting time for Ladbrokes and we approach the opportunities ahead with a strong sense of confidence.”