Rebuffed Rank licks wounds with profit lift

Rank unveiled a 15% rise in annual profits. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Rank unveiled a 15% rise in annual profits. Picture: Ian Georgeson

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Mecca bingo halls owner Rank Group unveiled the consolation prize of better annual profits yesterday after recently pulling the plug on its rebuffed joint takeover bid with online gambling group 888 Holdings for bookmaker William Hill.

Rank, which also operates Grosvenor casinos, said pre-tax profits lifted 15 per cent to £85.5 million in the year to end-June.

Revenue edged up 1 per cent to £708.5m while like-for-like sales at Mecca rose 2 per cent. The company added that in the seven weeks to the middle of August trading was “positive and is in line with management’s expectations”.

READ MORE: William Hill rejects revised bid from 888 and Rank

Chief executive Henry Birch said the UK’s recent vote to quit the EU single trading bloc would have “little or no direct impact” on the business.

Birch said Rank was financially strong, had market-leading brands and “a clear strategy for long-term growth”. He said the board of the company continued to look to the future with confidence.

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