Ladbrokes Ireland generated operating profits of £2.5m (€3.5m) in the first half of this year, unchanged from the same period last year.
However, half-year results for the British betting and gaming services giant, yesterday showed that the Irish division — which has just emerged from examinership — saw a year-on-year decline of 9.2% in net revenue, to £33.6m and a near 10% annualised drop in gross profit to £29.8m.
Amounts staked on bets by Irish punters in Ladbrokes shops amounted to £235.9m, down nearly 5% on the first six months of last year and the company’s gross win — or the amount it won from over-the-counter bets here — declined by just over 9% to £34.1m.
The Irish operations exited a three-month examinership period at the beginning of this month, with its retail network in the Republic lighter by just over 50 outlets to 144 and the loss of around 90 of its 840 staff here through a voluntary redundancy scheme.
A near €13m investment plan backed by the Ladbrokes Group was approved by the High Court after the examiner — Ken Fennell of Deloitte — opted for that rather than a takeover from BoyleSports.
“We were pleased to be chosen by the examiner as the preferred partner in restructuring the business,” the group’s management said yesterday.
On a group-wide basis, Ladbrokes yesterday reported a lurch into the red for the first half of 2015.
Operating losses of £37.2m (down from a profit of £41.1m in the first six months of 2014) and a pre-tax loss of £51.4m (as opposed to a profit of £27.7m a year earlier) came on the back of nearly £80m in exceptional charges.
These covered impairments/ writedowns on its retail network, shop closures in the UK and examinership costs.
Group chief executive Jim Mullen said: “Our first-half results reflect the challenge facing Ladbrokes. While we have some encouraging customer trends, we need to reset the business and invest. The results clearly show why we need to change and why we need to do so quickly.”
Mr Mullen said while the company’s proposed merger with UK rival Gala Coral represents an “exciting opportunity”, deal completion remains some way off and the focus “must be on the here and now” regarding delivering on the group’s organic plan and driving performance towards its 2017 targets.
“In July, we set out an organic plan to create a better business in 2017 with clear targets,” he said. “While doing this removes the short-term thinking that had come to dominate our actions, we recognise it does create short-term impacts on our profitability.”
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