LONDON Jan 31 British gambling company Rank
reported a 23 percent decline in first half profit on Friday,
hit by lower customer numbers at its bingo halls.
Rank, which is majority-owned by Malaysia's Guoco Group
and also operates casinos in Britain, had warned in
October that profits would fall short because of the impact of a
summer heatwave on its bingo business.
"As previously guided, the first half of the current
financial year was challenging with like-for-like brand
performances down on the same period last year," Chief Executive
Ian Burke said in a statement.
Rank said pre-tax profit fell 23 percent to 27.7 million
pounds ($45.7 million). The company has responded to
difficulties in its Mecca bingo and Grosvenor casino businesses
by cutting costs and seeking to boost revenues.
Rank runs 97 Mecca bingo halls in Britain. It also has 55
casinos in Britain after buying 19 from Gala Coral Group in a
179 million pound deal last year.
"Management anticipates operating profit in the second half,
excluding the impact of the acquired casinos, will be broadly in
line with the comparable period last year," Burke added.