Lad­brokes owner pulls div­i­dend de­spite ro­bust per­for­mance in on­line bet­ting

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business -

Lad­brokes Coral owner GVC scrapped its in­terim div­i­dend de­spite bet­ter-than-ex­pected half-year re­sults, as on­line bet­ting re­mained ro­bust dur­ing lock­down, writes Si­mon Foy.

The FTSE 100 book­maker said it now ex­pected an­nual un­der­ly­ing prof­its to come in at £720m to £740m for 2020, ahead of the £710m pre­dicted by an­a­lysts at Peel Hunt.

For the six months to the end of June, the firm made a £24.8m pre-tax profit on rev­enues of £1.58bn, as on­line gam­bling and the re­turn of pro­fes­sional sport off­set some of the hit from bet­ting shop clo­sures. It cited “un­cer­tainty as a re­sult of Covid-19” for its div­i­dend de­ci­sion. It comes less than a month af­ter boss Kenny Alexan­der sud­denly ex­ited the firm.

A week af­ter he an­nounced his re­tire­ment, GVC said the firm was be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by the tax­man over bribery claims at its for­mer Turk­ish on­line busi­ness.

GVC said yes­ter­day: “HMRC has not yet pro­vided de­tails of the na­ture of the his­toric con­duct it is in­ves­ti­gat­ing, with the ex­cep­tion of a ref­er­ence to Sec­tion 7, Bribery Act 2010.”

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