Strong second half at Rank as new chairman unveiled

Business News

Rank Group said revenue grew slightly in its most recently ended financial year, but profit dropped by 26% on increased costs associated with an ongoing transformation.

In addition, the gambling company said it has promoted Non-Executive Director Alex Thursby to chair with effect from Rank’s annual general meeting scheduled for October 17.

He joined the Rank board in August 2017 and has chaired the audit committee since October 2017. Thursby will succeed Ian Burke, who will not seek re-election.

Turning back to results, Rank reported revenue growth to GBP695.1 million in the year to the end of June, up 0.6% year-on-year. Like-for-like revenue remained broadly flat at GBP729.5 million compared to GBP731.3 million.

Pretax profit fell, however, 26% to GBP34.6 million year-on-year due in part to an increase in operating costs.

Rank declared an interim payout of 7.65 pence a share, up 3% from 7.45p paid the year before.

Rank’s transformation programme, launched in December 2018, is now starting to drive performance improvements in both its UK and international venues businesses, the company noted. As at June 30, there were a total of 13 workstreams and 388 initiatives within the transformation programme.

Initiatives in the transformation programme delivered GBP10.7 million of cost savings in the second half and Rank expects a further GBP9.3 million of cost savings will be delivered in financial 2020.

At the end of May, Rank announced a takeover of Stride Gaming PLC, and Rank believes the acquisition of Stride will accelerate the transformation.

On July 24, Stride’s shareholders voted in support of Rank’s offer. Rank expects the acquisition to be completed early in the second quarter of financial 2020.

“We are pleased with the group’s second half performance and the full year results, especially given the challenges we faced in the first half of the year,” said Chief Executive John O’Reilly.

“We have made a good start to the transformation of Rank and there remains a lot of improvement to be delivered,” added O’Reilly.