Gala Coral reported an increase in revenues in the third quarter, but losses continued to rise at the British bookmaker, as it reports what are likely to be its last set of independent results before its £2.2bn merger with Ladbrokes.
Revenues in the private equity-owned group’s third quarter increased 10 per cent, to £264m, with the company benefiting from positive results during the Euro 2016 football championships, as well as rising revenues from controversial gaming machines in its retail stores.
Despite the gains, however, £26m of “exceptional costs” – including impairment costs on closed stores and early repayment of debts as well as costs directly related to the Ladbrokes deal – kept the company in the red, with a loss of £25.6m compared to £20.5m in the same period last year.
The company also suffered from “teething problems” around the introduction of new regulation designed to protect players from problem gambling. Gala reported online revenue growth of 19 per cent in the year to date, but noted that growth would have been as high as 28 per cent without the issues. Worries about the measures have also hit shares at rival William Hill.
Competition regulators told Ladbrokes and Gala last month to sell up to 400 betting shops to gain clearance for their proposed £2.2bn merger, which will create the UK’s largest bookmaker by number of betting shops. Gala said the disposal process is “well under way,” and it expects the merger to be completed during the Autumn.
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