Gala Coral Group shakes off 'worst Cheltenham since 2003' to report rise in earnings and sales

Caitlin Morrison
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This year's Cheltenham festival was the worst ever for the betting industry (Source: Getty)

Bookmaker Gala Coral overcame a poor performance at Cheltenham to grow earnings and revenues, with online sales surging in the 28 weeks to 9 April.

The figures

Earnings before income tax, depreciation and amortisation came in at £122.9m during the first half, up from £101.4m last year.

Revenue was up to £606m from £535.7m in the first half of 2015.

The firm said online net revenue was up 35 per cent, while Coral Retail reported over-the counter net revenue of £156.7m, up five per cent on the first half of last year.

The group posted a pre-tax loss of £49.8m, down from a profit of £103.4m in the same period of 2015. Gross profit rose to £413.1m from £374.4m.

Why it's interesting

This could be the last set of results Gala Coral reports before merging with Ladbrokes. A proposed deal was last month provisionally cleared by the Competition and Markets Authority, although that approval came with the condition that around 400 shops be sold.

What Gala Coral said

The group said its Cheltenham festival gross win margin was the worst since 2003 - a complaint echoed all around the betting industry this year - but added that the losses incurred at the festival were "largely offset by a positive result in the Grand National".

Carl Leaver, group chief executive, said earnings growth in the first half " represents a very satisfactory performance for the group".

In short

Cheltenham woes didn't hit Gala Coral too hard, and it still has that massive Ladbrokes deal to look forward to.