Hilton warns profits may be hit by flooding

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Hilton, the hotels and betting group, yesterday said the recent flooding in the UK may hit profits in the fourth quarter of the year.

Hilton, the hotels and betting group, yesterday said the recent flooding in the UK may hit profits in the fourth quarter of the year.

The warning came as the company confirmed it has entered a period of exclusive talks with Gala Bingo over the sale of its casinos division. A spokesman said an outcome was expected "in weeks rather than months".

Hilton said in a trading update for the third quarter that its hotels and Ladbroke gaming operation had already lost business due to national fuel shortages and bad weather. However, the loss for the July to September period was not material compared to last year, it added. "People cancel weekend breaks because they cannot travel and we have lost some of our overseas visitors. Some will re-book but some business may be lost," the spokesman said. Ladbroke has suffered because of the cancellation of 27 race meetings at flooded courses, he said.

The group has also seen disappointing levels of telephone gambling, which is operated through its call centre in Gibraltar.

Hilton said investment in the development of betting over the internet was one of its major costs. Its e-gaming division generates £1m in revenue a week and has 80,000 registered customers.

On the hotels side, the group revealed revenue per room up by 11.7 per cent overseas and by 13.6 per cent in Britain.

Hilton shares yesterday climbed 1.5p to 203.5p.

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