Mobile Continues To Enhance Rank Group Results

Mobile betting now 26 percent of digital revenue

The UK-listed Rank Group land and online gambling enterprise has posted its FY results for the 12 months ended June 30, showcasing a 43 percent growth in mobile betting, which now comprises 26 percent of group digital revenue.

Financial highlights of the report include:

* Group revenues up 13 percent at GBP 707.7 million;

* Group operating profit up 4 percent at GBP 72.4 million

* EBITDA up 7 percent at GBP 116 million;

* Adjusted profit before tax down 4 percent at 62.5 million;

* EPS up 32 percent at 12.4p;

* Net debt up 32 percent at GBP 137 million.

Henry Birch, chief executive of The Rank Group plc said:

"Performance improved in the second half of the year following a challenging first six months. The Group is well positioned for future growth with the cut in bingo duty, major capital investment programmes planned at Nottingham, Bournemouth and Luton casinos and full year benefits from the GBP 8.9 million investment into new product in the acquired casinos.

"In the short term the introduction of a digital point of consumption tax will impact performance but our strong brands and market leading positions ensure that the Group is well placed and provides long-term opportunities."

Aside from mobile, which turned in an outstanding growth of 43 percent, digital division performance was disappointing, with overall revenue growth just 2 percent, although marketing spend had been reduced in this very competitive vertical.

The division will likely be the most vulnerable to Britain's new p.o.c. regulatory and tax regime in terms of costs.

Digital revenue for the Grosvenor assets grew strongly in the period, up 38 percent to GBP 13.5 million, thanks mainly to a new live dealer operation, whilst the Mecca assets added over a hundred new games and upgraded the mobile app.

Birch observed: "While Rank has built strong positions in venue-based [retail] gaming, we have not yet been able to replicate this across our digital channels. In 2013/14, our digital operations generated just 10 percent of Group revenue whereas digital channels now represent around 30 percent of Britain's gambling market (excluding the National Lottery).

"We recognise that we need to step up our capability in this area if we are to meet the changing needs of our customers and to capture a greater share of the digital market. This year, we will put in place a number of building blocks to support this aim including the appointment of Colin Cole-Johnson as group director of digital and cross-channel services."

Birch flagged operational highlights as:

* Solid results with increases in revenue and operating profit driven by the acquired Gala casinos;

* Improved H2 performance following a challenging H1; H2 operating profit up 21 percent on H1 following the successful execution of sustainable profit improvement initiatives;

* Mobile revenue growth of 43 percent, now comprises 26 percent of digital revenue;

* Dividend growth with final dividend of 3.15p recommended and total dividend of 4.50p for the year, up 10 percent on 2012/13

* Successful integration of the acquired casinos, completed on budget and on time;

* Grosvenor Casinos has been awarded its first 2005 Act casino licence in Luton;

* Bingo duty halved to 10 percent following successful engagement with HM Treasury;

* Slots VAT repaid to HMRC following adverse ruling at Court of Appeal.

Online Casino News Courtesy of Infopowa