Ladbrokes bitten by Cheltenham favourites and big freeze

 

Bookmaker Ladbrokes took a pasting at the Cheltenham festival last month, and with 62 days of other race meetings lost to the freezing weather in the first quarter it warned profits this year will be at the lower end of forecasts.

The bookie’s shares fell 9 per cent, or 18.9p, to 188p as it rushed out its trading statement 10 days earlier than planned. Analysts had been looking for profits in a range of £180m to  £215m against the £206m it made last year.

Chief executive Richard Glynn said the group made £6m less at Cheltenham than in 2012, including a £2m drop in profits from Ireland as so many Irish winners romped home.

He said: “Nine favourites won and on the last day in particular we got smashed. It is one of the vagaries of bookmaking that you just have to accept. On the Grand National, which was in our second quarter, we made £4m more than we did in 2012.

“So I would say that I’m disappointed but all the more determined to deliver. We will redouble our efforts so that by 2014 we will be producing those profits which we had promised.”

Ladbrokes said it had also been hit by lower spending on the machines in its shops during the first couple of months of the year and lower revenues from high-spending customers in its online casino business.

“The trading environment and economic conditions since the start of the year have remained challenging, which when combined with a number of specific, one-off factors in the latter part of the period, have driven a softer first quarter than expected,”  Mr Glynn said.

All of these factors, as well as the rise in gaming-machine tax, mean first quarter operating profits are down by £13m on last year at £37.4m. Overall revenues are down 3.3 per cent.

Mr Glynn said: “Obviously this is a disappointment but Ladbrokes is still materially stronger as a business than it has been for several years.”

He said he is looking for an upturn in digital revenues in the second half of the year.

Nick Batram of broker Peel Hunt said: “A downgrade now was not unexpected although the scale is slightly more than anticipated... but, in a sector where there is considerable corporate activity, now is not the time to get off the Ladbrokes horse.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Content Writer - Global Financial Services

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Consultant - Financial Services - OTE £65,000

£15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Loan Underwriter

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory