Sportingbet soars as its profits jump

Steve Dinneen
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ONLINE bookies Sportingbet saw its shares soar almost six per cent yesterday after its pre-tax profit soared from £6.9m last year to £23.8m.

Revenues dropped slightly from £207.5 to £206.3m. The results were announced in the long shadow of Sportingbet’s long-mooted takeover by Ladbrokes, which the firm said is ongoing.

Discussions over the possible sale of its Turkish language website to GVC Holdings, a move seen as critical to clear the way for the Ladbrokes deal, are also ongoing.

Chief executive Andy McIver said he was satisfied with progress in both sets of talks but declined to comment on the likelihood of either deal coming to fruition. McIver emphasised the strength of the business were it to remain independent, although analysts say and Betfair are possible alternative suitors.

He said: “If Ladbrokes decide not to buy us, the future for Sportingbet is very much the future we’ve had for the last couple of years, in that we’ve been putting our house in order. We’re moving to a much more regulated base.”

Sportingbet reported strong growth in its emerging markets division, Australia and some European territories, offsetting economic weakness in Greece and Spain.