Ladbrokes Profits Soar 20% To £202.3 Million In 2010

Number one UK bookmaker Ladbrokes has just announced its full year financial results for 2010 showing an impressive 20% rise in operating profits to £202.3 million ($325.72m) compared to £168.5 million in 2009.
Ladbrokes owns more than 2,200 betting shops throughout the UK, Ireland and Belgium which accounts for a huge proportion of their revenue. In 2010 the company saw its UK retail business profit grow by 11% to £149.1m, while its other European retail trade increased 68% to £62.7m over the same period.
However, the company was keen to also highlight Ladbrokes’ growing egaming operation, known as Digital, which in 2010 soared 36% to £62.7m. Ladbrokes online presence benefits from having such a recognisable high street brand name, with 25% of new online customers coming through directly typing into the search engines.
Commenting on the company’s online aspirations for the future, CEO Richard Glynn said:
“Ladbrokes is currently perceived as a retail-led business with evolving international and online business. We want to be an e-enabled international betting and gaming business, and have a clear plan of how to achieve this.”
During 2010, Ladbrokes’ online Sportsbook was up 16.9% to £65.1m, online casino was up 6.3% to £55.3m, and bingo was up 11.4% to £13.7m. However, poker was down 20.7% to £18.8 million in what has been described by the company as a challenging market.
Going forward, Peel Hunt analyst Nick Batram was quoted by egrmagazine as saying: “Final results came in above our expectations helped by a better margin performance across all divisions. The hope for Ladbrokes is that Richard Glynn delivers a more aggressive online strategy and that the retail margin gap with William Hill narrows.”
With this in mind, Ladbrokes are currently engaged in exploring merger opportunities with and Playtech as a means of addressing their weak online gaming capabilities.
However, following the release of the company’s 2010 financial figures not all analyst took an optimistic view of its 2011’s trading potential, with Simon French from Panmure Gordon recommending a ‘sell’ with a 119p target. Ladbrokes shares are currently priced at 136.90p, with a 52 week high/low of 164.60/122.50.

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