Ladbrokes Trading Update

Full year operating profit in line with expectations, despite poor sporting results in December.
The Ladbrokes Coral plc online and land gambling group has released a trading statement for the unaudited year to 31 December 2016, reporting:
* Proforma group operating profit for the full year is expected to be within the range of GBP 275 million – GBP 285 million, consisting of Ladbrokes standalone operating profit of cGBP 101 million and Coral Group standalone operating profit of cGBP 179 million. This result is in line with market consensus for Ladbrokes plc and in line with management expectations for the Coral Group, despite the poor sporting results both businesses faced in the second half of December 2016. This compares to 2015 proforma group operating profit of cGBP 235 million, consisting of Ladbrokes plc operating profit of GBP 80.6 million and Coral Group operating profit of cGBP 154 million;
* Q4 (1 October 2016 to 31 December 2016) saw continued growth in Digital with net revenue up 18 percent. Despite the poor sporting results in the UK, net revenue was 17 percent ahead of the same quarter last year and net revenue was 13 percent ahead.  Sports gross win margins were around 1 percent behind expectations in both brands. In Australia, Ladbrokes net revenue was 45 percent ahead of last year, driven by stakes growth of 57 percent;
* UK Retail net revenue was 4 percent behind the same quarter last year. Like-for-like OTC stakes were 5 percent behind last year (a trend that has continued into 2017) and OTC margin of 16.5 percent was around 2 percent behind expectations, resulting in OTC net revenue 11 percent behind last year. Multi-channel sign ups across both Ladbrokes and Coral remained strong with over 140,000 customers signing up to Connect and the Grid in the quarter.
Jim Mullen, CEO, commented:
"The last quarter of 2016 was one of significant activity with the completion of the merger, good progress on integration along with the necessary shop disposals and a busy sporting schedule.  While the sporting gods did not look favorably on us in the period, it is pleasing to report that the business continued to perform well and that our full year numbers will be in-line with expectations.
"It has been an encouraging start to the life of Ladbrokes Coral Group plc. Good progress is being made on all the key integration work streams.  We saw continued growth in our Digital division with Australia going from strength to strength and further growth in multi-channel sign ups.  We remain confident in our plans for 2017 and on delivering the opportunities identified in the merger."
Final results announcement will be on the 28 March 2017.