Gambling giant Rank has marked a return to profit in the final half of 2021 following a difficult 12 months prior.
The business, that owns a number of the UK’s most popular bingo sites and online casinos, including Mecca Bingo, Grosvenor, Moon Bingo and Enracha, saw profits increase £24.1million compared to the £41.2million loss which was registered last year, with Grosvenor among the best performing of the subsidiaries.
It’s been a pleasing return for the company, whose statutory operating profits rose a staggering 295% to £103million after a VAT repayment of £83million. John O’Reilly, chief executive of Rank Group said, “Grosvenor has demonstrated high customer demand in the absence of restrictions, particularly when the travel restrictions for tourists coming into the UK were largely removed in October, resulting in much improved table handle in our London venues.”
However, other areas of the business had been hit harder. Mecca struggled with the loss of older customers coming through their doors, particularly towards the latter stages of 2021, but there’s optimism of a return in 2022.
O’Reilly added, “Whilst the trading environment continues to be challenging and cost headwinds are applying additional pressure on the hospitality sector, we have proven that with no restrictions, our trading rebounds quickly.”
That has been helped by a seven percent increase in active customers within their digital business, which has benefitted from the huge increase in players taking to online casinos and bingo sites over the past few years, with expert predictions suggesting that it’s only going to further increase.
O’Reilly continued, “Rank is well positioned to regain the robust revenue and profit growth momentum we had created before the pandemic struck. We have strengthened the balance sheet and, with the return to profitability and cash generation, we have been able to accelerate our transformation programme to drive faster revenue growth as restrictions are lifted.”
It’s being seen as a huge step forward for Rank following a difficult period across the industry, and a number of economic experts are predicting the gambling group to accelerate over the coming months. Russell Pointon, director of consumer and media at the Edison Group noted, “There is a confident tone in Rank’s interim results as it has returned to profitability, and a more positive outlook as it looks forward to trading with fewer restrictions.”
“Coupled with a much stronger balance sheet, the company is accelerating investment in its continuing transformation programme and resumption of dividend payments will be considered when allowed.”
“Rank retains a clear ambition to reach £1bn of revenue by FY23, versus current Refinitiv consensus of c £820m, and pre-Covid revenue of c £700m.”
2022 is going to be one-to-watch for Rank, having completed the transaction of meccabingo.com in January while there are also a number of other investments and acquisitions expected over the coming year to drive the business forward and extend their profitability following a successful end to 2021.
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