Rank suffers from smoking ban

Source: http://www.inthenews.co.uk/

Gambling group Rank’s 2006 profits were hit by the Scottish smoking ban, the company said today.

Releasing its final results for the 2006 calendar year, Rank saw its adjusted profit before tax fall from £50.5 million in 2005 to £44.4 million last year.

Mecca Bingo, Britain’s second-largest bingo club operator, suffered a fall in its operating profit from £87.9 million to £72.1 million thanks to the Scottish smoking ban enforced last year.

With similar bans set to be introduced in Wales next month and in England in July, Rank said the ban remained the company’s “immediate concern”.

Ian Burke, Rank chief executive, said: “In the short-term we recognise that our businesses face a number of challenges, most notably the smoking ban which will be effective across the whole of Britain from July this year.

“Our strategy is to take vigorous action to meet these challenges while retaining our long-term focus on the growth opportunities for Rank.”

The company said it was already taking steps to rejuvenate the company, including re-energising the gaming division, establishing an “appropriate” cost structure and withdrawing from non-core interests.

Shares in Rank rallied after an initial dip to remain unchanged on their opening price during the first hour of trading this morning.

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