Ladbrokes wins fail to convince most investors

BOOKMAKER Ladbrokes said it was on track to meet financial targets for the year after reporting a 94 per cent jump in operating profits during its third quarter, relieving the pressure on chief executive Richard Glynn.

Shareholders were not convinced, however, as shares were sent tumbling 6.12 per cent to 121.10p due to ongoing concerns over tax changes.

Ladbrokes has been struggling to keep pace with market leader Wil­liam Hill in the growing online gambling market and Glynn’s position has appeared under threat.

The World Cup helped to boost operating profit to £33m in the three months to the end of September, almost double the equivalent figure of £17m in 2013.

“The major operational improvements completed in the first half are now delivering growth. Our performance in the World Cup and throughout the third quarter demonstrate that we are competing successfully and winning customers,” said Glynn, adding that the company was on track for full year targets. Glynn has previously reassured investors that growth would return in the second half of the year after a series of setbacks.

The company is expected to report operating profit of around £128m in 2014, down from £138m in the previous year. Ladbrokes also confirmed that it would pay an annual dividend of at least 8.9p per share for 2014, in line with what it gave shareholders last year.

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