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Ladbrokes Coral owner GVC beats market forecasts with strong final quarter

Kenny Alexander said GVC was well placed for 2019
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The parent company of Ladbrokes and Coral expect their earnings for 2018 to be higher than market expectations following a strong end to the year.

GVC Holdings stated underlying ebitda (earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation) last year would be in the range of £750-£755 million in a trading update issued on Thursday, higher than the estimated figure of £739 million. 

The company reported strong growth in net gaming revenue (NGR) in online for the year of 19 per cent. However like-for-like NGR in the group's UK retail estate fell by three per cent.

Total group NGR in 2018 rose by nine per cent. 

Chief executive Kenny Alexander said: "The group's performance in 2018 has been excellent with the strong momentum reported in the third quarter continuing into the fourth quarter.

"We are materially outperforming the market and taking share in all of our major territories.

"As the group carries this momentum forward into the new year, and starts to deliver the opportunities provided by both the Ladbrokes Coral integration and our sports-betting joint-venture in the US with MGM Resorts, the board is confident that the group is very well placed for a successful 2019."

Analysts at Goodbody described the figures as "another strong update from GVC".

They added: "Despite an extremely tough fourth quarter comparative in online, the group has again delivered strong double-digit online growth. All its main brands and geographies are contributing to this growth."

GVC shares closed the day up 14p on 687p. The group, which also owns brands such as bwin, Sportingbet and Foxy Bingo, plans to release preliminary full year results for 2018 on March 5.

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We are materially outperforming the market and taking share in all of our major territories
E.W. Terms