Rank defies critics with upbeat results

RANK, the Odeon to Butlins leisure conglomerate, yesterday claimed to be on the road to recovery after an awful few years which saw its share price plunge to new depths.

Rank defied its growing band of critics by announcing better than expected 1997 results. The group pleased investors by unveiling a rise in underlying pre-tax profits to pounds 303m (pounds 297m) and a 10 per cent jump in earnings per share, causing the shares to rise 9p to 340p.

Andrew Teare, Rank's embattled chief executive, said yesterday: "We are seeing the green shoots of recovery. Our large investment programme is starting to work. It has been a huge job to get it right."

Mr Teare denied that he was facing a management revolt in the wake of the departure of John Garret, head of the group's leisure business, and claimed there would be no further high-profile boardroom casualties: "The board are 100 per cent behind our strategy. The morale is good and our managers are very motivated."

Analysts pointed out that Mr Teare still had a lot of work to do to prove his reforms would be successful. Mark Finnie, leisure analyst at NatWest Securities, said: "There is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. There are still plenty of questions unanswered but they have bought themselves more time."

Rank's star performer was the Odeon cinema chain, where profits and attendances rose by more than a quarter thanks to films such as The Full Monty, which gave the industry its best year since 1974.

The buoyant British film industry has also prompted Rank to give Pinewood Studios a pounds 10m facelift to increase its capacity by 30 per cent.

Rank is planning to accelerate the expansion of its Hard Rock Cafe chain. Yesterday it announced a deal with a US drinks group to produce a Hard Rock beer which will be launched this spring. The Hard Rock record label, which has sold 120,000 albums in five months will be expanded. Rank is also looking to open 11 new Mecca bingo sites this year, which suggests it is unlikely to buy First Leisure's troubled bingo division.

But the US holiday business had another disappointing performance, as did Tom Cobleigh, which suffered from prolonged delays in new openings.

Rank signalled it was unlikely to launch another share buy-back this year.

The group confirmed it was unlikely to sell any other divisions and would concentrate on revitalising some of its tired brands.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine