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Stakis close to buying more casinos

STAKIS, the leisure group, is close to buying another casino, a business that the company considered leaving two years ago, writes John Shepherd.

'We believe we can pick-up one or two casinos in the next eight weeks,' said David Michels, chief executive, who yesterday reported a further recovery in profits.

Stakis, which has 33 hotels and 21 casinos, made pounds 6.6m before tax in the half-year to 3 April, against pounds 2.3m. The interim dividend is 0.65p, up from 0.45p.

At the height of its problems in 1991/92, which mainly arose from the Eighties property boom, the company lost pounds 44m.

Mr Michels said: 'London hotels are enjoying good occupancies, but it will probably be another year before they can get good rates.'

Hotels lifted operating profits from pounds 8.6m to pounds 9.9m. Room yield has risen from pounds 24.90 to pounds 26.40.

Operating profits from casinos increased from pounds 5.4m to pounds 6.8m. Attendances have improved by 6 per cent and the average spend per head per visit has gone up from pounds 116 to pounds 119.