02/09/2012 :  RANK PLC RESULTS RELEASED
 
Six and twelve months numbers posted
 
The online and land gambling company Rank Group plc has posted its six and twelve month results to end December 2011 showing good growth in most of its online interests and recording final victory in a long running tax overpayment dispute with HM Customs and Excise that brought GBP 253 million back into the gambling company's coffers.
 
The company also responded to press speculation that it was in talks to acquire the Gala Coral group, confirming that the reports were true.
 
Key highlights for the group overall show increased customer numbers, revenue and operating profit with a particularly strong performance from Grosvenor's G Casinos, and:
 
·     Strong balance sheet with GBP 25 million of net cash
 
–     Net debt GBP 123.4 million at 31 December 2010
 
·     European Court of Justice decision in Rank's favour on GBP 253 million VAT overpayment claims
 
·     Customer satisfaction score up six percentage points to 51 percent across the Group's gaming-based entertainment brands
 
 
Financial highlights in six months ended 31 December 2011
 
 ·     Group revenue of GBP 295.9 million (H2 2010: GBP 286.7 million)
 
·     Statutory revenue of GBP 282.7 million (H2 2010: GBP 274.9 million)
 
·     Group EBITDA before exceptional items of GBP 53.1 million (H2 2010: GBP 49.2 million)
 
·     Group operating profit before exceptional items of GBP 34.6 million (H2 2010: GBP 33.4 million)
 
·     Group operating profit after exceptional items of GBP 21.7 million (H2 2010: GBP 9.3 million)
 
·     Adjusted profit before tax of GBP 32.5 million (H2 2010: GBP 30.1 million)
 
 
Financial highlights in the 12 months ended 31 December 2011
 
 ·     Group revenue of GBP 589.9 million (2010: GBP 567.8 million)
 
·     Group EBITDA before exceptional items GBP 100.9 million (2010: GBP 92.3 million)
 
·     Group operating profit before exceptional items GBP 64.1million (2010: GBP 62 million)
 
·     Adjusted profit before tax GBP 58.8 million (2010: GBP 55.2 million)
 
 
Entering its 75th year, Rank celebrated the success of a very 21st century activity in its Interactive division, reporting good results from its internet and mobile gambling offerings.
 
"In 2011 we have focused our innovation efforts on the effective delivery of our brands through mobile devices, including the release of twenty high quality mobile applications," Management reported. "As a result, mobile gaming achieved 200 percent revenue growth or 6.7 percent of the business's total revenue in 2011 as nearly a quarter of our customers chose to use this channel.
 
"Revenue continued to grow strongly during the six months ended 31 December 2011 (up 24.8 percent to GBP 37.8 million) driven by increasing revenue from meccabingo.com. Operating profit also increased compared to the same period in 2010, up 14.3 percent to GBP 6.4 million."
 
Marketing spend on the interactive operations was increased, and there is clearly an appreciation of the importance of mobile gambling in the company's assessment of the business in the future, with Management noting:
 
"We believe that the increasing prevalence of gaming via mobile communications devices (such as smartphones and tablets) represents a structural change within our industry. Understanding how the availability of gaming-based entertainment via mobile devices affects consumer choice and using that insight for competitive advantage is a key challenge for the Group.
 
"Through Rank Interactive we have made some good progress in terms of product development, launching the world's first real money bingo ‘app' in 2010; and becoming an early adopter of mobile sports betting via Blue Square. In addition, we offer mobile gaming on a local area network to customers of our Mecca venues via more than 7,500 Mecca Max electronic gaming units.  We are looking into the opportunities to use similar technology in Grosvenor Casinos."
 
The report breaks down Rank's interactive revenues as follows:
 
Bingo up 30.2 percent to GBP 28.9 million in H2 2011 (H1 2011 – GBP 22.2 million) and up 30.5 percent over the full year to GBP 54.8 million.
 
Sports up 10.9 percent to GBP 5.1 million in H2 2011 (H1 2011 – GBP 4.6 million) and up 15.9 percent to GBP 9.5 million over the full year 2011.
 
Casino up 18.5 percent to GBP 3.2 million in H2 2011 (H1 2011 – GBP 2.7 million) and up 8.8 percent to GBP 6.2 million over the fiull year 2011.
 
Poker fared less well, down 25 percent to GBP 600 000 (H1 2011 – GBP 800 000) and down 27.8 percent to GBP 1.3 million over the full year.