Ladbrokes owner pulls dividend despite robust performance in online betting
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.”