ank Group PLC’s first quarter was in line with its expectations, the company said on Thursday. Throughout the period, the group saw a strong increase in like-for-like net gaming revenue, and now expects full-year revenue to rise.
The U.K. gambling company said net gaming revenue rose 69% to £163.1 million during the three-month period, ended Sept. 30, while digital net gaming revenue rose 5%, returning to quarterly growth. Like-for-like net gaming revenue from venues jumped 117% year-on-year.
"Whilst forecasting remains difficult as we emerge from the pandemic in an environment of volatile costs and numerous supply chain challenges, we are confident that trading will continue to improve across each of our businesses during the remainder of the year," Chief Executive John O'Reilly said.
The improved results were expected by the group, as the venues business has seen significant growth, in particular with revenue for its Grosvenor Casino segment: it is increasing 209% year-on-year to £79.2 million as a result of the full reopening of venues.
While London continues to feel the impact of reduced tourism, outside London net gaming revenue is “running close” to pre-pandemic levels, the company says. Mecca venues grew revenue by 41% year-on-year, with visit numbers gradually improving through the quarter. Enracha venues revenue grew by 20%, as trading restrictions gradually ease across Spain.
A detailed look at Rank’s digital segment shows Grosvenor digital growing 12%, driven by the growth from omni-channel players following the reopening of casinos. Mecca digital revenue grew 6%, while the performance of other brands was mixed. The international digital segment, however, posted a positive 11% growth in the quarter.
The quarter found the group with cash and available facilities in line with expectations. Rank now targets a £10 million increase in full year capital expenditure to £50 million, and to continue to meet all its liquidity and financial covenant tests.
The company states that, based on current trading performance, and an expectation of improving performance across all businesses, management expects group like-for-like net gaming revenue for the year ended 30 June 2022 to be in the range of £700 million to £750 million, and EBIT between £50 million and £75 million.
“We have seen an excellent response from our customers as they return to our venues, with our colleagues doing a great job in ensuring they are being properly entertained within a safe environment,” added O’Reilly optimistically.
The forecast growth comes after the group revealed in August that its revenue was cut in half during 2020-21, a consequence of the impact of the pandemic. Rank’s operating loss for the year also widened from £49.1m to £92.9m.