Rank Group Plc on Thursday reported preliminary results for the 12 months ended 30 June 2019, showing a 22% slump in annual operating profit as the casino and gaming operator was hurt by weak sales and traffic at its businesses in the first half of the year.
Rank has been investing in online operations to offset a slowdown in traffic at its bingo halls and casinos, and to attract younger players who use mobile apps or websites such as its own meccabingo.com and grosvenorcasinos.com. It bought out smaller rival Stride Gaming in May.
Rank, whose revenue rose 1%, said it saw a recovery in the second half of the year, fuelled by its initiatives which it launched in December, and said it had seen an “encouraging” start to the current fiscal year.
Chief Executive Officer John O’Reilly said in a statement: "We are pleased with the Group's second half performance and the full year results, especially given the challenges we faced in the first half of the year. The transformation programme is pivotal to our growth strategy both in the UK and internationally. We are excited by the important initiatives that are being implemented across each of our businesses. We have made a good start to the transformation of Rank and there remains a lot of improvement to be delivered."
"I would like to thank my colleagues across the Group for their enthusiasm and commitment in delivering much-needed improvements in the ways in which we are meeting the needs of our customers. The acquisition of Stride, which we expect to complete in 2019/20, will help step-change our digital business, deliver strong synergies, bring proprietary technology in house and create one of the UK's leading online gaming businesses," O’Reilly added.
Rank’s operating profit for the year ended June fell to 39 million pounds ($47.3 million) from 50.1 million pounds a year earlier.
Rank said separately that it had appointed non-executive director Alex Thursby as its chairman to succeed Ian Burke, with effect from the conclusion of Rank's upcoming annual general meeting on 17 October 2019. As previously announced by Rank on 1 May 2019, Burke had notified the company of his intention not to seek re-election.
Thursby joined the Rank board in August 2017 and has chaired the audit committee since October 2017. Upon his appointment, he will step down as chair of Rank's audit committee. The search for a new audit committee chair has started.
Commenting on Alex's appointment, Chris Bell, senior independent director, said: "We carried out a formal and rigorous appointment process and it was clear that Alex was the best candidate to become Rank's chair. Alex has a wealth of experience in compliance and risk governance in regulated sectors and, having been on the board since August 2017, has a solid understanding of Rank."