Rank Profits from Gaming Focus

Source: http://gamingintelligencegroup.com/

The Rank Group today announced their preliminary results for 2006, a year in which the group disposed of its Deluxe Film, Hard Rock and US Holidays businesses in order to refocus its activities on mainstream gaming.

Operating profit from Rank’s Bingo operations, Mecca Bingo and Top Rank Espana declined 18% to £72.1 million, due in part to a 15% reduction in Bingo hall attendance figures as a result of smoking bans introduced last year in Scotland and Spain.

Casino operating profit rose 13% to £39.5 million for the year as social and legislative changes drove growth in consumer demand.

Blue Square, Ranks interactive gaming business recorded a 680% increase in operating profit to £7.8 million from revenues of £39.2 million, principally as a result of strong growth from online gaming.

Ian Burke, chief executive of The Rank Group Plc said: “Through the actions that we have taken in 2006 we have repositioned the Group to focus purely on mainstream gaming. This is a market where we have a depth of operating experience, a portfolio of strategically important assets and recognised brands and where we see opportunities for sustained long-term growth.”

“During 2006 we agreed or completed asset disposals totalling more than £1.1 billion, including the sales of Deluxe Film, Hard Rock and US Holidays. As a result of our programme of restructuring, we have transformed Rank into a focused gaming business.”

“The outstanding performance came from our interactive business, Blue Square, which increased operating profit by 680% through tighter margin control and strong revenue growth in its games and poker products. Poker is performing particularly well as a result of the launch of the Blue Square sponsored Grosvenor UK Poker Tour.”

This strong performance was driven largely by the development of new games and poker products and by advances made in sportsbook risk management.

Gross win from gaming grew by 74.8% to £22.9m while sportsbook rose by 23.5% on stronger margins to £16.3m. Active membership for Blue Square increased by 22.9% to more than 285,000 members.

In 2006 Rank launched a number of new online gaming products, including meccabingo.com and grosvenorcasinos.com.

In January 2007, the Group launched the Blue Square-sponsored Grosvenor UK Poker Tour which comprises eleven regional poker tournaments and numerous ‘satellite’ events, each hosted in a Grosvenor casino.

Each event is being filmed for Channel 4 Television in the UK, and the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour will become the first poker tournament to appear on terrestrial television, with 22 weekly screenings commencing in August.

Rank Group shares (LSE:RNK) were up close to 2% at 222.25p at 11.00 GMT in London.

Rekated LinksLearn more about the Grosvernor Poker Tour /

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