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UK – Rank sees 29 per cent increase in profit

By - 10 February 2015

Rank has reported a 29 per cent increase in half-year profit, boosted by its Grosvenor casinos division and online operations.

Pretax profit increased to £35.8m in the first half ending December 31, up from £27.7m a year earlier.
Revenue at Grosvenor casinos increased by six per cent to £205.6m with spend per head per visit increasing by around five per cent at Rank’s London casinos. Rank was given the green light in March 2013 to become the largest casino operator in the UK after it agreed to buy 19 casinos from Gala Coral for £179m.

Rank said following its latest results that it signed an agreement with Bede Gaming to supply a new core digital platform after reporting a 16 percent jump in first-half digital revenue.
Rank, which is majority owned by Malaysia’s Guoco Group, had 94 Mecca bingo halls and 57 Grosvenor casinos in Britain by the end of October 2014.

Henry Birch, chief executive of The Rank Group Plc said: “I am very pleased to be announcing a strong set of results with operating profit (before exceptional items) up 25 per cent, following improvements across all parts of the business which has driven a 19 per cent increase in our interim dividend. We have continued our focus on improving our digital business and this strategy has resulted in a 16 per cent increase in digital revenues and 75 per cent increase in operating profit. To further strengthen our offer in this important channel, we have announced an agreement with Bede Gaming to supply our new core digital platform which will ensure the Group has a flexible and modern platform to build on.”

“The first half saw three senior management appointments including two managing directors to lead Mecca and Grosvenor Casinos, and the newly created role of Group Director of Digital and Cross-Channel Services,” he added. “These appointments further strengthen the Group’s management team and ensure that we are well placed to take advantage of future growth.”

“During the period, we opened a new Grosvenor Casino in Southend and completed the refurbishment of our Bournemouth casino,” Mr. Birch explained. “This was combined with a 42 per cent increase in Mecca venue maintenance following the reduction in bingo duty from 20 per cent to 10 per cent. The Group’s venue maintenance and development programme remains very busy in the second half and beyond into 2015/16. Rank remains in a strong financial position, possesses market-leading brands and has a clear strategy for long term growth. As a result, the Board continues to look to the future with confidence.”

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