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Rank Group back in black, confirms full-year guidance

(Sharecast News) - Rank Group reiterated its full-year outlook on Thursday, after a jump in interim revenues helped it swing back into the black. The casinos-to-bingo operator reported a 9% rise in underlying like-for-like net gaming revenues (NGR) in the six months to 31 December, to £362.6m.

Within that, NGR at Grosvenor Casinos jumped 10%, to £167.5m, and by 9% at Mecca Bingo, to £67.2m. Digital revenues rose 8% at £108.4m.

As a result, underlying operating profits surged to £21.7m from £2.7m a year earlier, while pre-tax profits were £10.4m. Last year, pre-tax losses - which included one-off impairment charges - swelled to £109.1m.

John O'Reilly, chief executive, said: "After what has been a very challenging few years for Rank, due to a wide range of external macro factors, we are starting to build revenues and, with our strong operational leverage, we are improving our profitability, with the group delivering revenue and operating profit growth across all businesses."

Rank added that it expected full-year like-for-like operating profits to be in line with forecasts, despite the "challenging" economic environment.

As at 0900 GMT, shares in Rank were up 4% at 73p.

Shore Capital, which has a 'buy' rating on Rank, said: "After last year's challenging first half, operating profit improved by £19m. The key drivers being a 9% increase in revenue, operating efficiencies - including bingo site closures - and lower energy costs, more than offsetting continued labour cost pressures.

"We keep our full-year estimates unchanged and see significant longer term opportunity, especially from impending gambling reform."

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