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Bookmaker friendly results at this year’s Cheltenham Festival has led to strong first quarter growth at Paddy Power Betfair, the FTSE 100 betting group.
The horseracing festival which took place in March, featured a string of upsets that left punters out of pocket during the biggest betting week of the year in the UK.
In a trading update for the three months to March 31, the betting company said revenue increased 15 per cent on a constant currency basis to £416m. Underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation increased 83 per cent on a constant currency basis to £111m.
Betfair and Paddy Power combined in a £7bn deal in 2015. In March, the company said the implementation of its merger was ahead of schedule, with it set to benefit from £65m in annual cost synergies from this year.
On Wednesday, the company said it has also gained from the fall of the value of the pound against the Euro since the company reported results over the same period last year, a drop that occurred after UK voted to leave the EU last June. Paddy Power Betfair said it gained “a £23m benefit from the translation of non-UK revenues due to the weakness of Sterling”
Chief executive Breon Corcoran said:
Reversing the trend of the past two years, results at Cheltenham 2017 favoured bookmakers and this contributed to good revenue growth. Combined with the annualisation of merger-related cost savings and continued focus on operating efficiency, this resulted in a doubling of operating profits in the first quarter.
But he also warned:
Since then, however, at high profile events such as the Grand National, Premier League football and the US Masters, results favoured customers, and overall gross win margins were weak in April.