Ladbrokes Owner Axes Dividend After 74% Profit Decline

By Martin Green16 August 2020
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Ladbrokes owner GVC has reported a 74% profit decline for the first half of 2020 due to the coronavirus lockdown. Underlying pre-tax profit dropped to £55.4 million in the six months to June 30. GVC’s Ladbrokes and Coral betting shops had to close for several months due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Online sports betting revenue was up 5% year-on-year, the sporting calendar being wiped out during the spring, and online gaming revenue increased by 10%. Yet the strong online performance was not enough to offset huge losses in the firm’s retail division. Chief executive Shay Segev, who recently took over from Kenny Alexander, said: “Given the unprecedented trading environment, GVC has delivered an encouraging performance in the first half, underlining the strength of our diversified business model and the expertise, adaptability and dedication of our people.” GVC axed its dividend, but market analysts noted that the firm had emerged relatively unscathed from a torrid six months.

GVC boss Segev has vowed to carve out a greater share of the online sports betting and gaming sector after taking the reins. “As a technologist, I have huge admiration for what Kenny and the rest of my colleagues have achieved but I am also determined to pursue a programme of continuous improvement as we focus on our four technology-enabled priorities,” said Segev. “These are leading the US market, organic growth, expanding into new markets, and being the most responsible operator in our industry. Our industry-leading technology will enable us to grow responsibly and sustainably, using our data-driven customer insights to ensure all of our customers have an enjoyable and safe experience while gaming with us. That is how we will deliver greater and more sustainable value for all our stakeholders.” His appointment follows William Hill’s decision to replace chief executive Philip Bowcock with chief technology officer Ulrik Bengtsson last year.

Paddy Power is offering money back in cash on all markets if Man Utd beat Sevilla in 90 minutes when the teams meet in the Europa League semi-finals tonight. New customers get a £10 risk free bet on all pre-match markets in the game. If it wins, you keep you balance. If it loses, you will get your money back in cash, so you can withdraw it and walk away. These offers normally involve receiving your money back as a free bet, so a cash refund is an attractive offer. Man Utd needed extra-time to get past FC Copenhagen in the quarter-finals, so they will need to raise their game against Sevilla. Julen Lopetegui’s men are unbeaten since the restart. They finished fourth in La Liga, and they have since beaten Roma and Wolves in the Europa League, but Man Utd’s expensively assembled side remain the favourites to win the game.

Betfair has made former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino the even money favourite to take over as Barcelona manager. Quique Setien only took the role in January, but he is all but certain to be sacked after presiding over a humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich on Saturday. Pochettino guided Tottenham to the Champions League final last season, but he was sacked after a poor start to the 2019-20 campaign. He has been out of work since, and his hard pressing style could help galvanise this ailing Barca side. Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi is the 11/2 second favourite with Paddy Power, followed by another former Barca midfielder, Ronald Koeman. Longer shots include Patrick Kluivert, Marcelo Bielsa, Johan Cruyff, Massimiliano Allegri and Roberto Martinez. Barcelona playmaker Philippe Coutinho is on loan at Bayern Munich this season, and he came off the bench to score twice and provide an assist against his parent club. He is now 8/11 with Betfair to join Arsenal during the current transfer window, with PSG, former club Liverpool and Tottenham all in the mix.