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Rank Group Slips to Loss in Pandemic

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The Rank Group has slipped to a £48.6 million pre-tax loss in the last six months of 2020 after a challenging first half of its financial year.

The group’s underlying net gaming revenue was down 58% from £371.2m to £156.9m although digital was up 1% to £66m.

Rank, which had made a £39.8m pre-tax profit in the last six months of 2019, had most of its venues shut for much of the six months. It saw a 10% growth in active customers in UK digital brands.

In light of the pandemic, the board has not proposed an interim dividend but is committed to restarting dividends when circumstances permit.

Chief executive John O’Reilly said: “There is no doubt that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been far beyond anything we or any other leisure operator could have imagined or planned for. The ever-changing restrictions coupled with curfews, which in particular have a seismic impact on our Grosvenor venues, have resulted in an exceptionally challenging first half for the group.

“I have remained incredibly impressed with our teams who have displayed high levels of professionalism and adaptability under the continuously changing circumstances. Despite the difficulties we are facing, they have continued, through a range of initiatives, to help our local communities, front line workers and those who are vulnerable.

“We have taken a stringent approach in applying affordability restrictions, particularly on higher staking customers, which has impacted revenues in our UK facing digital business in the half. We have been making good progress in the development of our proprietary technology platform to prepare the digital business for its exciting future. Once we have successfully completed the migrations of Mecca and Grosvenor, our in-house technology and development capability will give us much greater agility and speed in delivering developments, providing the group with a platform for growth both in the UK and internationally.

“There continues to be uncertainty looking ahead, particularly as our venues remain closed and we have no firm guidance as to when we will be able to reopen.”

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