Number’s up for some Gala sites
THE private equity owners of Gala Bingo are seeking to offload some of its halls to reinvigorate profits as the company readies itself for a rebrand.
Caledonia Investments, which bought Gala Bingo in 2015, is seeking buyers for some of its sites, as well as offering some companies the option of taking up excess space in some locations.
Gala Bingo’s operating profits fell by 5pc to £746,000 in 2015, the latest set of available results, but pre-tax profits dropped heavily from £40.9m in 2014 to £1.9m, almost entirely due to payments from other group companies not being repeated. In Caledonia’s fullyear results, released in May, for the year to March, the investor said Gala Bingo had “traded in line with our expectations at the time of the acquisition 18 months ago” but gave no more detail.
Industry sources suggest the company has been hampered by a shift by bingo players – like other gamblers – moving online.
Both galabingo.com and galacasino. com are owned by bookmaker Ladbrokes Coral meaning a rebrand would likely be needed if Gala Bingo is to make a push online.
One source with knowledge of the company suggested a brand name it was considering was Buzz Bingo. In terms of its sites, it is understood to have approached the likes of supermarkets Co-op and Nisa about whether they are interested in any of the Gala Bingo sites, as well as gym businesses Gym Box and The Gym, and frozen foods supermarket Farm Foods.
A spokesman for Gala declined to comment on the rebrand but said that the company always reviewed its estate.
“We regularly review opportunities to invest in our estate and create added value services for our customers.
“There may be occasions where clubs are considered for disposal but this will be on a case-by-case basis.”