Business is booming for Rank Group Plc, owners of the Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casinos brand, according to the half-year financial results released on January 29, 2015. The gambling giant, listed on the London Stock Exchange, boasted a £40.8 million in “Group operating profit before exceptional items,” an increase of 25% when compared to the same period in 2013/14.
Rank Group Plc's chief executive, Henry Birch, said of the half-year figures:
“I am very pleased to be announcing a strong set of results with operating profit (before exceptional items) up 25%, following improvements across all parts of the business which has driven a 19% increase in our interim dividend. We have continued our focus on improving our digital business and this strategy has resulted in a 16% increase in digital revenues and 75% increase in operating profit. To further strengthen our offer in this important channel, we have today 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. 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. This was combined with a 42% increase in Mecca venue maintenance following the reduction in bingo duty from 20% to 10%. 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.”
Financial Highlights in the six months ended 31 December 2014
|H1 2014/15 (unaudited)||H1 2013/13 (unaudited)||Change|
|Group EBITDA before exceptional items||£62.1m||£54.2m||15%|
|Group operating profit before exceptional items||£40.8m||£32.7m||25%|
|Adjusted profit before tax||£35.8m||£27.7m||29%|
|Adjusted earnings per share||7.1p||5.3p||34%|
|Cash inflow from operations||£72.8m||£49.7m||46%|
|Dividend per share||1.60p||1.35p||19%|
Investors in Rank Plc (LSE ticker RNK) will see a 1.60p dividend, up 19% from the 1.35p per share offered in 2014. Rank's share price jumped from 165.90 at the end of January 28 to 178.00 on January 29, 0.80p shy of a 52-week high.