he Barking-based private equity-owned group stated that turnover for the past twelve months dropped by 3% to us$ 1.868 billion from us$ 1.929 billion last year while its profits before interest and tax crashed 214 % to us$ 140.9 million from us$ 456.7 million in 2007.
Gala Coral stated that the decrease in turnover was down to the impact of the ongoing smoking ban on its land-based bingo and casino operations along with the removal of Section 21 gaming machines. Other factors included ‘increased competition in the wider casino sector and an overall softening in underlying consumer confidence’ that it stated had been partially offset by strong growth in its online division along with an increase in its international business, principally in Italy.
Gala Coral is the firm behind virtual bookmakers Coral.co.uk and Eurobet.com alongside Internet bingo site GalaBingo.com and online casino GalaCasino.co.uk and stated that its e-commerce activities generated a 5.1 % increase in earnings to us$ 66 million from us$ 58.5 million in 2007.
“Last year was challenging for Gala Coral due to well tracked regulatory and economic impacts,” said Dominic Harrison, CEO for Gala Coral. “I believe though that the Group responded well to these challenges and I am particularly pleased with the growth delivered by Coral, our main business.
“As the economic outlook remains uncertain, we have responded with intelligent cost management and an internal restructuring to make sure we are as efficient as possible to cope with these challenges. “We have started the new financial year well and I am confident we will continue to outperform our competitors and meet the targets we have set ourselves in 2009.”