British gambling group GVC has reported a rise in profit following an unusually warm summer, coupled with the World Cup, and says it has identified more cost savings from its £4bn acquisition of Ladbrokes.

On Thursday the FTSE 100 company said revenues for the first half of the year were up 8 per cent on the same period the previous year to £1.7bn. Underlying operating profits were also up 17 per cent to £278m. The company said it had “good momentum” in online and that it was making market share gains in all territories.

In addition, the Isle of Man-based group said it has identified £30m more in cost savings, on top of the £130m identified earlier in the year.

Like-for-like net gaming revenues in UK retail was down 3 per cent, although the company said it could have been worse were it not for the World Cup. Earlier in the year the cold weather held back its retail business, after a number of horse racing fixtures were cancelled due to the “Beast from the East”.

The company noted that revenue from gaming machines was down 3 per cent on the same point last year, or a fall of 1 per cent on a like-for like basis. But after accounting for the poor weather in the first quarter and the adverse impact of reduced opening hours, net gaming revenues were “broadly flat”.

According to the company the stakes were “undoubtedly impacted” by the negative coverage of fixed-odds betting terminals given the focus drawn to the sector by the government’s recent review, which has called for the upper limit on punters’ stakes to be slashed.

“Gaming regulation continues to evolve globally creating both opportunities and challenges, with barriers to entry rising all the time”, said chief executive Kenneth Alexander.

The company also announced on Thursday it was appointing a new independent non-executive director, Pierre Bouchut, to GVC’s board.


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