Ladbrokes Coral secures operational, financial growth in H1

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Ladbrokes Coral secures operational, financial growth in H1Ladbrokes Coral Group has said that it was able to achieve “operational and financial progress” during the six months to June 30, posting year-on-year growth across a number of key financial metrics.

Proforma group revenue for the first half amounted to £1.2bn (€1.3bn/$1.6bn), up 1% on the £1.18bn posted in the corresponding period last year.

The company enjoyed a strong digital performance in the six-month period, with net revenue from this side of the business up 17% year-on-year.

Group earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were up slightly from £210.1m to £211m, while group operating profit after tax also climbed 7% year-on-year to £158.3m.

Ladbrokes Coral said the 2016 proforma results include financial information for both the Ladbrokes PLC and the Coral Group brands, prior to when the two firms merged in November last year.

Jim Mullen, chief executive of Ladbrokes Coral, said: “Ladbrokes Coral continues to make good operational and financial progress.

“We entered the year with ambitious targets for the first half to substantially complete the integration of our teams and migrate UK digital to a single platform; we delivered on both fronts and at the same time kept the business moving forward.

“The business is now looking to the second half with confidence; the business is in good shape and we have come a long way in a short time.

“The increase in the dividend reflects both the progress made, the opportunities offered by the merger and our confidence in the future.”

Publication of the interim results comes after Ladbrokes Coral was earlier this month the subject of a reported takeover bid by GVC Holdings.

Citing sources close to the matter, the Financial Times newspaper reported that discussions took place over a number of weeks, but the two parties were unable to agree on terms of an offer worth up to £3.6bn.

Meanwhile, Ladbrokes Coral has announced that it will pay a voluntary levy to greyhound racing based on offshore greyhound turnover in the UK from the start of 2018.

The company said it has made the commitment unconditionally and funds from the levy will be directed to the greyhound industry via the British Greyhound Racing Fund or through the appropriate funding body.

Ladbrokes Coral currently owns and operates four greyhound tracks in the UK: Crayford, Hove, Monmore and Romford.

“We are passionate supporters of greyhound racing; while it may be declining in popularity it is still a much loved and staple part of our offer both in shops and through our digital channels,” Mullen said.

“The debate on its funding has been going on for some time and while we have not always agreed that the sport is under-funded, we do recognise that it is time for the industry to move on and start to rebuild the sport.

“We run our tracks to the highest standards of integrity and welfare and hope that this additional funding can help the wider industry join us in the aim of building a better sport and spectacle for the modern day customer.”

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