City File: Ladbroke loses pounds 150m on property

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The Independent Online
LADBROKE GROUP, the betting, DIY and hotels giant, will finally bite the bullet and revalue its property portfolio downwards this week, even if it means that on strict accounting rules the group will show a loss. Analysts have been sceptical about the company's own valuations, which put a pounds 1bn price tag on the group's properties, and a revaluation by independent surveyors is set to reduce it to pounds 850m.

The pounds 150m writedown will have to go through the profit-and-loss account. While Ladbroke's pre-tax profits should show a relatively healthy 11 per cent rise to pounds 185m, pounds 40m of this will be profits from the sale of hotels. When both that and the property writedown are subtracted, the company will show a deficit.

Cyril Stein, the chairman, will be able to point, however, to a boost in the betting side from evening racing, and a recovery at Hilton hotels, thanks to the strong dollar. The shares, which rose 4.5p to 195p on Friday, are not worth chasing.