Market Report: Ladbroke lands a double, but won't lift hotel gloom - Business - News - The Independent

Market Report: Ladbroke lands a double, but won't lift hotel gloom

LADBROKE IS unlikely to lift the gloom which has engulfed hotel shares when it produces its interim figures this week.

The betting-to-hotels group is expected to achieve a commendable pounds 20m or so profits advance to around pounds 120m. The hotels will have performed relatively well, but gaming profits will have galloped ahead.

Like the rest of the hotel industry, Ladbroke's shares have been under pressure. They finished last week at 255p against a 12-month high of 360p.

Hotel stocks are so unloved that the industry would appear to be in deep recession. Yet trading, by most accounts, is reasonable, and there is the rumble of takeover action.

Many hotel shares have been lumbered with a Fawlty Towers image because of worries about slower consumer spending and the impact of the strong pound on tourism. But Ladbroke's Hilton Hotel portfolio has an international spread, with lower Asian profits offset by a stronger Continental performance. On the home front, profits could be up by as much as 10 per cent.

But it is the betting contribution which should underline that bookies do not leave much to luck. BT Alex.Brown is looking for Ladbroke's gambling profits to shoot up by a third.

The group still faces uncertainties. Its takeover of the Coral betting shops from Bass looks likely to be nobbled for apparent monopoly reasons.

Ladbroke had bet on the deal being cleared, and had handed pounds 362.7m to Bass and made arrangements to trim its betting shop chain to accommodate regulatory problems.

It may still get the go-ahead, but have to unload more outlets than originally intended. However, with 2,600 shops and 35 per cent of the market, chairman Peter George could find himself forced to sell Coral.

Still, this would not be a disaster. Bass may not want Coral and Ladbroke may not be able to have it, but others are likely to be tempted. A trade sale, or one to a financial group, are possible; so is a flotation.

On hotels, Ladbroke's relationship with the Hilton Hotel Corporation of the US continues to intrigue. HCC runs the Hiltons in the US, Ladbroke in the rest of the world. They have a trading pact, and there have been suggestions that HCC will take a 5 per cent stake in Ladbroke. But the stock market expects the two to merge in the fullness of time.

Still Ladbroke, even without HCC, seems ready to strengthen its hotel operations. It was, after all, an unsuccessful bidder for the Inter-Continental chain which went to Bass.

Rolls-Royce, with its shares feeling the impact of the Asian crisis, should at least produce robust interim profits - say pounds 155m, a 33 per cent increase.

Hardly a week goes by without Rolls announcing a new aero-engine contract. Its order book stands at pounds 8bn. But Asia represents almost a third of that, and the market is anxious to know whether the rest of the world is making up for any cancellations or deferrals. Some say Rolls is accepting exceptionally narrow margins for most of its contracts, banking on subsequent sales and servicing rewards.

Reckitt & Colman is among those companies which have undergone a makeover, ditching its food and soft drink operations to concentrate on pharmaceuticals, toiletries and household products.

Interim profit estimates have been pulled back recently and only modest progress is now expected, say pounds 170m against pounds 166m last time.

Retailer Allied Carpets is due to roll out its belated year's figures this week. They have been held back by accountancy problems at some stores which, it seems, booked profits on sales when orders were placed rather than waiting until the deal was completed. Last week two directors quit, apparently taking the blame for the problem which will hit profits.

Even before the incorrect sales bookings were discovered Allied produced a profits warning, prompting the market to lower its expectations from pounds 20m to pounds 13m. Now the guess is the company will manage around pounds 10m against pounds 16.2m.

The shares have been suspended at 74.5p since the accountancy errors came to light. Once the profits are known trading is expected to resume. The shares were placed at 215p two years ago, and reached 320p two Christmases ago. Since then it has been all downhill as the retail recession has hit the high street, devastating the shares of shop keepers.

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £280 - £320 p/d - 6 months

£280 - £320 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Senior BA - Insurance **URGENT**

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Training Coordinator / Resource Planner - City, London

£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Coordinator / Pl...

Data Governance Manager (Solvency II) – Contract – Up to £450 daily rate, 6 month (may go Permanent)

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently looking...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week