Business

Ladbrokes profits up strongly on 'bookie friendly' results

Ladbrokes logo Image copyright PA

Ladbrokes has reported a £25.2m profit for the first six months of the year compared with last year's £51.4m loss.

The bookmaker says this strong performance is in part due to "sporting gods" being on its side.

It cites a run of "bookie friendly" results, like that of the European Championship, where England and Northern Ireland exited early.

Ladbrokes, which plans to merge with rival Coral, says a run of "customer friendly" results will follow.

It says it is in talks with potential buyers for around 400 stores it has to sell for the merger to go through.

The results show that customers are responding positively to the company's new strategy "at a time when the sporting gods have generally been on our side and we've enjoyed some helpful bookmaker friendly results", said chief executive, Jim Mullen.

"History would strongly dictate that such a run of results in our favour would see customer staking suffer, but encouragingly these numbers firmly buck that trend and combine strong staking and a good margin."

"However, 130 years of experience in sports betting has shown us that we will endure a run of customer friendly results and margins will normalise," he added.

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Biggest bookie

Ladbrokes, the UK's second-biggest bookmaker, announced its planned £2.3bm merger with Gala Coral, the third-biggest, in July last year.

The deal will make it the largest bookmaker in the country, but last month the Competition and Markets Authority said it had identified 642 local areas where the merger would hit competition.

It said the two companies must sell between 350 and 400 shops for the merger to be cleared.

Ladbrokes has about 2,150 outlets in Britain and 77 in Northern Ireland. Coral runs 1,850 shops in Britain.

In its results statement, Ladbrokes said it was "engaging" with potential buyers and remained hopeful that a competitive process could be completed by the end of September. It would then look to begin "significant" restructuring of the businesses before the end of the year.

Ladbrokes' shares were up 5% in morning trading.

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