Rank Group Scraps Final Dividend
By Staff
Online gambling group Rank has announced that it is to scrap its final dividend as a result of indifferent results from its bingo and casino operations.

The group is one of the UK’s largest gambling concerns and has recently been a target for at least three companies looking to buy into its shares despite difficult trading conditions as a result of taxation and stricter anti-smoking laws.

According to the Reuters news agency, land bingo revenues at Rank’s Mecca venues in the 14 weeks since September were down 18 percent with admissions decreasing 15 percent alongside spending per head falling three percent. In addition, the company’s Grosvenor land casino like-for-like revenues were down seven percent with admissions also falling five percent and spend per head decreasing two percent.

'The short-term trading outlook for Rank remains challenging,' a statement from the company read.

'Having stabilised the revenues and taken actions on the cost we now have to rebuild the admissions,' said Ian Burke, Chief Executive for Rank.

Rank said that it expected to stay within banking covenants as long as trading did not deteriorate further but scrapped its planned four pence final dividend along with projects worth around $61 million.

'The way trading looks we have taken a package of measures that we think are sensible,' said Peter Gill, Finance Chief for Rank.

However, Rank's Blue Square online sports betting and gaming operation saw growth in like-for-like revenue of 34 percent for the period driven mainly by growth in its gaming operations, notably at MeccaBingo.com.

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