Rank Group reports first half loss amid Covid-19

Finance News

Rank Group has announced a loss for the first half of fiscal 2021 as revenue took a hit from venue closures and coronavirus-related restrictions.

The FTSE 250 gambling group reported a pretax loss for the six months to Dec. 31 of 59.4 million pounds ($81.3 million) compared with a profit of GBP48.2 million for the same period a year earlier.

Revenue for the half year fell to GBP177.6 million from GBP391.8 million a year before.

John O’Reilly, Chief Executive of The Rank Group Plc said “There is no doubt that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been far beyond anything we or any other leisure operator could have imagined or planned for. The ever-changing restrictions coupled with curfews, which in particular have a seismic impact on our Grosvenor venues, have resulted in an exceptionally challenging first half for the Group. I have remained incredibly impressed with our teams who have displayed high levels of professionalism and adaptability under the continuously changing circumstances. Despite the difficulties we are facing, they have continued, through a range of initiatives, to help our local communities, front line workers and those who are vulnerable.

“We have taken a stringent approach in applying affordability restrictions, particularly on higher staking customers, which has impacted revenues in our UK facing digital business in the half. We have been making good progress in the development of our proprietary technology platform to prepare the digital business for its exciting future. Once we have successfully completed the migrations of Mecca and Grosvenor, our in-house technology and development capability will give us much greater agility and speed in delivering developments, providing the Group with a platform for growth both in the UK and internationally.

“There continues to be uncertainty looking ahead, particularly as our venues remain closed and we have no firm guidance as to when we will be able to reopen. We remain focused on managing our liquidity position and, following the successful £70m equity placing in November 2020, combined with the support of our lending banks, I believe we have the balance sheet strength to survive an extended period of closure. We are now focusing on delivering the next stage of our Transformation plan and are ready to reopen our venues when the virus is under control and the vaccine roll-out has achieved its purpose.”