Smoking ban hits Rank profits

01-09-2006

International gaming and leisure group Rank has revealed that its six-month profits are three per cent down compared to last year, attributable in part to the smoking ban in public places in Scotland.

The company, which owns the Mecca Bingo, Grosvenor Casinos and Hard Rock cafe businesses, said that earnings before tax stood at £40.7 million, compared to 2005's value of £41.9 million.

Rank has said it will be closing its London office and shedding jobs at bingo clubs nationwide in order to cut costs, with about 240 people to be made redundant as a result.

Overall revenue, however, increased by more than seven per cent to £426.1 million, with Hard Rock experiencing a rise in operating profit of 15 per cent to £18.9 million.

Ian Burke, chief executive of the firm, said: "During the first half of the year, Rank has delivered revenue growth from continuing operations, and both Grosvenor Casinos and Hard Rock have generated double-digit improvements in operating profits.

"Mecca Bingo has held revenue steady but operating profit remains under pressure from rising business costs. Group profits have been held back by a number of non-recurring items relating to restructuring," he added.

Mr Burke also unveiled that Rank have identified five strategic priorities for the next half, including re-energising the company's gaming businesses and maintaining the encouraging growth of Hard Rock.


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