Thursday August 4, 2011 : GAMBLING GROUP'S PROFITS FALL
 
Ladbrokes releases a weak half yearly set of results
 
The major online and land gambling group Ladbrokes has released a weak set of half-yearly results, reporting a 33 percent decline in first half pretax profit, and commenting that it remains cautious on the outlook for the struggling British economy.
 
Pretax profit fell to GBP 76.6 million from GBP 114.7 million the year before, reflecting a one-off interest rebate which boosted the previous year's figure.
 
Market expectations for underlying pretax profit had ranged between GBP 77 million and GBP 84 million, with the average being GBP 79.8 million according to a Reuter’s poll of six analysts.
 
Ladbrokes management said the group was on track to meet expectations for the full year.
 
"Whilst remaining mindful of tough economic conditions and continuing uncertainty affecting consumer disposable incomes [in the UK], we remain in line with board expectations for the full year," the company said in a statement.
 
The average forecast for full-year pretax profit stands at GBP159 million.
 
Net poker revenue took a particular hammering, the numbers reveal, falling 30.8 percent in the first half of 2011 to GBP 7.4 million from GBP 10.7 million in the first half of 2010. The number of active players in the first half fell by 21.3 percent while customer yields were down 11.3 percent.
 
The company's online casino and bingo operations delivered overall net revenues marginally ahead in the half (6.6 percent excluding effect of the World Cup) with growth in internet casino and bingo offset by further declines in poker.
 
Ladbrokes has been active in the M&A sector this year, holding talks with 888.com and Playtech and currently reportedly exploring possibilities with Sportingbet.com