Portfolio

Rank Group annual profit drops, new chair appointed

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Thursday 22 Aug 2019

Rank Group annual profit drops, new chair appointed

(Sharecast News) - FTSE 250 gambling company Rank Group posted a drop in full-year profit on Thursday but sounded an optimistic note about the outlook, as it appointed non-executive director Alex Thursby as its new chair.
In its preliminary results for the year to the end of June, Rank said group operating profit declined 22% to £39m, with adjusted pre-tax profit down 6% to £69.9m. Statutory revenue ticked up just 1% to £695.1m and group like-for-like revenue was flat at £729.5m. Rank said it saw a "tough" first half but an improvement in the second.

In the digital business, like-for-like second-half net gaming revenue was up 14%, up from 7% growth in the first half.

The full-year dividend was boosted by 3% to 7.65p a share.

Chief executive John O'Reilly said: "We are pleased with the group's second half performance and the full year results, especially given the challenges we faced in the first half of the year. The transformation programme is pivotal to our growth strategy both in the UK and internationally. We are excited by the important initiatives that are being implemented across each of our businesses.

"We have made a good start to the transformation of Rank and there remains a lot of improvement to be delivered."

O'Reilly said the acquisition of Stride, which it expects to complete in 2019/20, will help step change the digital business and deliver strong synergies.

Rank said trading in the seven weeks to 18 August has been "encouraging" and it's optimistic about the full-year outturn, with both growth in revenue and additional cost savings from the transformation programme.

Rank also said on Thursday that non-executive director Alex Thursby will be appointed as chair of the company following the annual general meeting on 17 October. He will succeed Ian Burke, whose departure was announced back in May.

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