Ladbrokes has seen its profits halve in the first six months of the year as the bookmaker suffered a transitional period for its digital business. Profit after tax dropped by 49.8% to £23.7m for the period, with huge drops in operating profit for UK Retail (down 21.3% to £57.6m), European Retail (down 32.0% to £6.6m) and digital (down a whopping 72.2% to £3.0m).
However chief executive Richard Glynn believes that the company’s new digital framework will be the foundation for growth for many years to come. He said: “In the first half of 2014 we successfully delivered all of the planned operational improvements in time for the World Cup. Our offer performed well, delivering a great betting experience for our customers and a good result for the business in a highly competitive market.
“We have made substantial progress and while there is more to do there is also much to play for. We now have the products, the platforms, the people and the brand in place to deliver. Ladbrokes today is a far stronger company and well positioned for growth.”
The company’s figures were compounded by poor sporting results which have hit the whole industry, including two expensive weekends earlier on in the year where favourites dominated results in the Premier League.
Glynn added: “With the convergence of competitive products, platforms and capabilities the heavy lifting has been largely completed and we now move to normal operations with the continual evolution of our offer and refinement of our operations.”
Ladbrokes said it also delivered a strong financial performance in the World Cup with staking growing on the 2010 World Cup by over 20%, with the Mobile offer proving to be the ‘stand-out performer with actives up nearly 700% and staking by over 1,100%. This helped Digital perform strongly with staking growth of over 40% on 2010 and actives up 28% overall.
Glynn commented: “Although Digital was the channel of choice for betting on the World Cup, we were pleased that UK Retail grew staking by 8% reflecting the Group’s focus on football product. UK Retail recorded a significant increase in slippage as customers took advantage of the increased availability of multiples and coupons.”
Performance Overview Ladbrokes – H1 2014