The Paddy Power betting group has announced an increase in operating profit of 59 percent to Euro 72.1 million, a high point at which chairman and non-executive director Fintan Drury has decided to step down at the end of the year after six years in the chair.
 
A senior independent director of the company, Nigel Northbridge will take his place.
 
Reporting the company numbers, Drury said: “We have been pleased with turnover across the group, with satisfactory growth at constant exchange rates in all businesses, apart from the telephone betting channel where as SuperSlotsexpected the amount staked has been broadly in line with last year.
 
"2007 was an excellent year for Paddy Power with strong growth in gross win and operating profit in all channels and an overall increase in underlying operating profit of 59 percent to Euro 72.1 million."
 
Drury continued in bullish mood, pointing to the first 20 weeks of operations to 13 May, which have been characterised by favourable sporting results and top line growth that have more than offset adverse foreign exchange movements resulting in gross win ahead of expectations.
 
"We have been pleased with turnover across the group, with satisfactory growth at constant exchange rates in all businesses, apart from the telephone channel where as expected the amount staked has been broadly in line with last year," Drury said, adding that the outlook for the company remains strong.
 
However, Sterling depreciation against the Euro will reduce group operating profit by approximately Euro 5 million, assuming an average exchange rate for the remainder of the year in line with current levels, Drury opined. This will be more than offset by the benefit of the favourable momentum and sporting results to date.
 
"The group now expects operating profit of approximately Euro 82 million in 2008, which would represent growth of 14 percent compared to 2007 and is 8 percent above the current consensus forecast," the chairman concluded.