Rank feeling the heat after dip in profits

Bingo halls and casinos operator Rank Group has revealed that recent trading has been hit by soaring temperatures as it reported a 1 per cent dip in annual profits.

The owner of the Mecca bingo chain and Grosvenor casinos posted an adjusted pre-tax profit of £65.1 million for the year to the end of June, down from £65.7m the previous year, despite a 7 per cent rise in revenues to £625m.

Rank, which recently bought the Gala Casinos business from rival Gala Coral for £179m, said profits had been hit by higher costs linked to the expansion of its technology team, while it also ploughed £38.2m into revamping venues and its online business.

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Chief executive Ian Burke described the results as “solid” in the face of competitive market conditions.

He added: “The recent hot weather has adversely impacted trading in the first weeks of the new financial year.

“However, we remain confident in the group’s long-term prospects and see good growth opportunities for our expanded casino estate and digital channels.”

The board recommended a final dividend of 2.85p a share, lifting the total payout for the year by 14 per cent to 4.1p.