Rank Group Reports Fiscal 2014 Results

Strong progress made in 2014-15, and digital shines says Management

The Rank Group plc has posted its full-year results for fiscal 2014-15, flagging the following highlights:
* Operating profit up 16 percent with all brands in growth;
* Group revenue up 4 percent, with like-for-like revenue for Grosvenor Casinos and Mecca up 8 percent and 2 percent respectively;
* Group EBITDA up 9 percent at GBP 125.3 million;
* Pre-tax profit up 19 percent at GBP 74.1 million;
* Net debt reduced 62 percent to GBP 52.9 million;
* Strong digital growth with revenue up 21 percent and operating profit up 14 percent despite the introduction of new UK taxes;
* Migration to new Bede digital platform underway with go-live planned for Q3-2015/16
* Cash flow from operations up 44 percent;
* Strong dividend growth with dividend per share of 5.60p, up 24 percent year-on-year, and EPS up 18 percent.
Henry Birch, the group chief executive, said Thursday:
"I am delighted to be announcing a significant improvement in our performance with a strong set of results and profit growth across all our brands. Alongside our strong operating performance, we have made good progress on our strategic objectives that we outlined 12 months ago, and we have a clear strategy for delivering sustainable profitable growth across all our brands.
"We are particularly pleased that the strong digital growth we reported at our interims continues and we remain on track to implement a new digital platform in early 2016.
"Our market-leading Grosvenor Casinos business continues to deliver consistent growth with like-for-like revenue and operating profit up. Mecca has had a significantly improved year with like-for-like revenues up and operating profit up, driven by good digital growth, stable like-for-like revenues in our venues and lower operating costs benefiting from a reduction in bingo duty.
"And after several years of tough trading conditions, Enracha, our Spanish bingo business, has reported euro profits up 240 percent."
"We believe that consumer trends will increasingly favour companies that can offer services across digital and retail channels and successfully offer a joined-up experience to customers.
"Trading in the short seven-week period to has continued in line with the trends seen in 2014/15 and is in line with management's expectations."
The company also took the opportunity to announce board changes, noting the appointment of Susan Hooper (55) as a non-executive director effective September 1 this year.
Hooper, 55, was managing director of British Gas Residential Services, leading the service and repair, central heating installations, electrical services, and Dyno-Rod business units until October 2014. She joined British Gas from the Acromas Group where she was chief executive of the travel division, responsible for Saga Holidays, Hotels, Cruises, the AA Travel division and Titan Travel. Previously, she held senior roles at Royal Caribbean International, Avis Europe, PepsiCo International, McKinsey & Co, and Saatchi & Saatchi.
She was a non-executive director of Whitbread PLC from 2011 to 2014 and has held several other non-executive directorships, including at Courtaulds Textiles, Royal & Sun Alliance, Transcom, First Choice and S.C Johnson.
Rank also announced that Shaa Wasmund has informed the board that she will not be seeking re-election as a director at the company's forthcoming annual general meeting on .
Ian Burke, Rank's chairman, said "I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Shaa for her contribution to Rank. Shaa's experience in digital media has been invaluable to the board since she joined in 2012 and we wish her all the best for the future."

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