Ladbrokes profits slump

Betting firm Ladbrokes reported a worse-than-expected 33 per cent decline in first half pre-tax profit, and said it remained cautious on the outlook for the UK economy. The company, which has more than 2,700 betting shops, said pre-tax profit fell to £76.6m from £114.7m the year before, reflecting a one off interest rebate which boosted the previous year's figure. Market expectations for underlying pre-tax profit had ranged between £77m and £84m. The company said it remained on track to meet expectations for the full year.