Ladbrokes cushion Hilton figures

Betting shop operator Ladbrokes cushioned Hilton Group's 15% drop in first half pre-tax profits.

Betting shop operator Ladbrokes cushioned Hilton Group's 15% drop in first half pre-tax profits.

The bookmaking chain's strong performance countered a decline on the hotels side of the business.

Overall, the group's pre-tax profit fell to stg £110.5m from stg £130m on the same period in 2002 despite an increase in turnover to stg £3.97bn from stg £2.57bn

Ladbrokes' Irish and Belgian betting shops showed a 2% decline to stg £5.5m

Hilton blamed the Iraq war, the outbreak of the SARS virus, economic uncertainty and the on-going terrorist threat for the hotel industry downturn.

Chief Executive, David Michels said : "It is not possible to give a definite forecast given the uncertainty over the future of the economy.

"While the hotels group was likely to see a steady recovery, we remain uncertain about the timing and pace of that process," he added.

Michels added that while he expected Ladbrokes to maintain steady growth, overall results would be influenced by any controls placed on fixed odds betting terminals.

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