BUSINESS

Rank Group ekes out 3.5% FY profit gain, doubles spending on digital development

TAGs: enracha, Grosvenor Casinos, henry birch, Mecca Bingo, Rank Group

rank-birch-grosvenor-mecca-enrachaUK gambling operator Rank Group enjoyed a rebound in the second half of its fiscal year that allowed it to post a modest 3.5% rise in annual profit. In the 12 months ending June 30, Rank’s revenue rose 13.5% to £707.7m while earnings rose 6.5% to £116m and operating profit hit £72.4m. Profits in the second half of the fiscal year were up 21% over H1.

The revenue gains were entirely due to Rank’s expanded Grosvenor Casinos operations, which reported revenue up nearly a third to £391.2m and profits up 20% to £56.8m. The casino vertical now accounts for 55% of group revenue and 60% of profits. By contrast, the struggling Mecca bingo chain saw revenue fall £8m to £288.2m while profits fell 16% to £37m. The Spanish-facing Enracha bingo business was flat, with revenue of £28.3m and profits of just £800k.

Rank’s online operations reported combined revenue of £72.4m, up a mere 2% year-on-year. The gains were entirely due to Grosvenor’s online casino, which reported revenue up 38% to £13.5m while the operating loss shrunk from £2.1m last year to £900k this year. Rank says the online casino has continued to show “strong growth” in the present fiscal year, but has so far captured only 2% of the online market compared to Grosvenor’s 35% retail share.

Mirroring its overall fortunes, Mecca’s digital operations saw revenue slip 4% to £58.9m while profit dropped by a quarter to £15.9m. Despite the shortfall, Mecca’s mobile channel is performing well, accounting for 40% of existing customers and providing 60% of customer acquisitions. Mecca continues to enjoy a 24% share of the UK online bingo market.

Rank CEO Henry Birch (pictured), who assumed Rank’s throne this May, said his goal was to transform the firm into a “leading multichannel gaming operator” while acknowledging that Rank was “unquestionably underpowered” in the online sphere. Birch wants to boost digital’s share of Rank’s overall revenue from its current 10% figure and has vowed to invest twice the £3.3m the company invested in its digital operations in the previous fiscal year.

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