Paddy Power plc announces strong growth at AGM

Business | Thu 14 May | Author – Business & Finance

Strong top-line growth offsets unfavourable sports results for Paddy Power as the company announces Gary McGann as the new chairman.

Speaking at the company’s annual general meeting in Dublin today, the current chairman of Paddy Power plc, Nigel Northridge said 2015 has started well for firm. “While sports results have been unfavourable across the sector, this has been offset for Paddy Power by strong top-line growth, particularly in Australia.”

He also reported that having completed a strategic review of the Group’s Italian business, they have identified substantial operational improvements and see the market as attractive over the medium to long term.  “We will realise a number of opportunities to improve efficiency across the Group this year,” he added.

In Online, sports betting stakes grew by 24% and total net revenue by 36%. In Retail, sports betting stakes grew by 14% and total net revenue by 21% (or 7% and 11% respectively excluding the impact of new shops).  “While sports results have improved relative to the comparative period, they were below our normal expectations, most particularly in our Telephone channel.  Total Group sports betting stakes increased by 21%, with net revenue up 28% for sports betting and 26% overall. 
Weakness in the euro relative to the comparative period continues to help offset the impact of new taxes and regulations this year, with Group net revenue up 35% on a non-constant currency basis.”

As at 11th May, the Group had no debt and net cash of €347m, or €265m excluding customer balances. Assuming the related resolutions are approved at today’s AGM, the Group will distribute approximately €442m to shareholders by 5th June by way of a €1.02 regular final dividend per share and an €8 per share B share scheme.

Northridge also announced that he will stand down as chairman and as a non-executive director of Paddy Power plc at the end of the first half, now that the appointment and transition to a new CEO has been concluded. “I am delighted to announce that Gary McGann, who joined the Board last year as a non-executive director, has agreed to assume the post of chairman when I step down.  It has been a pleasure to have had the opportunity to serve on the Board over the past 11 years.  The Group has made great strides in that time due in no small part to the endeavour and commitment of my Board colleagues and of management, present and past, for which I thank them.”