he improvement means adjusted earnings per share for 2009 will exceed the upper end of analyst estimates, the company said last week in a statement distributed by the Regulatory News Service. Analysts’ predictions ranged from 6.8 pence per share to 8.1 pence per share, Rank said.
Rank is expanding restaurant and bar areas and adding electronic gambling machines at bingo halls, and is seeking to attract more female customers with its “G Casino” brand conversions. Its online gambling sites attracted more bingo, casino and poker business, and a decline in sports betting moderated late in the year, the company said today.
“Grosvenor is proving far more resilient in a recession than we had anticipated,” and its G Casino rebranding is working, wrote Nick Batram, an analyst with KBC Peel Hunt who raised his recommendation to “buy” from “hold” today.
Comparable sales grew 2 % in the 12 weeks ended December 27, which compares with 1 % for the year to that date, the company said in the statement. Total sales gained 6 % at the year-end period, compared with 3 % for the full year, the company said.
Rank said its cost control, with lower utility rates and stable employment expenses, plus lower financing costs helped boost 2009 earnings.