Rank CEO “delighted” to see end of FY20-21 as operator slips to loss

| By Daniel O'Boyle
Rank chief executive John O’Reilly said the business was “delighted” to see the back of a difficult financial year ended 30 June, which saw the operator’s revenue cut in half as the business slipped to a loss.

Rank’s digital division brought in more revenue than any other, but was down 5.9% to £136.3m. It said the decline in digital revenue was due to a combination of new affordability restrictions and the extended closure of the Grosvenor and Mecca estates, as Rank’s online and land-based operations are linked.

Rank’s Grosvenor brand of land-based casinos, ordinarily its largest source of revenue, brought in £79.2m, a 71.4% decrease. Rank noted that Grosvenor casinos were closed for 66% of the year and were required to operate with reduced occupancy and social distancing for the remaining 34%, as well as undergoing a curfew for part of the year.

Its Mecca retail bingo venues, meanwhile, saw revenue drop 56.7% to £55.2m. Mecca’s venues were closed for 58% of the year and reduced capacity and social distancing for the rest.

Revenue from Rank’s international venues was down 34.8% to £17.5m.

This left like-for-like revenue before the operator’s 2019 acquisition of Stride Gaming at £288.2m, almost exactly half of the revenue it made without Stride in 2019-20.

Stride, meanwhile, brought in £41.1m, down 19.1% from 2019-20, for which its entire year of results are counted even though it was part of Rank for only part of the year.

After accounting for foreign exchange differences, this led to underlying revenue of £329.6m, down 48.0%.

The business then paid £305.4m in costs of sales, leaving a gross profit of £24.2m, down 90.1%. 

While the business made other operating income of £64.1m – mostly related to its Grosvenor and Mecca businesses – it paid other operating costs of £174.1m. In addition, it made a net loss of £8.4m from one-loss items, such as integration costs and amortisation for Stride, restructuring costs and income from selling the Blankenberge Casino in Belgium to Kindred.

This meant Rank’s operating loss was £92.9m, compared to a £49.1m operating profit the year before.

Rank paid a further £14.4m in costs of financial items, resulting in a pre-tax loss of £107.3m, after having made a £35.7m profit the year before.

After a £10.4m tax benefit, Rank’s loss was £96.9m, down from a £25.9m profit in 2019-20.

The business then made £24.9m from discontinued operations – such as the Blankenberge Casino – for a final loss of £72.0m, after recording a £27.1m profit a year earlier.

John O’Reilly, chief executive of The Rank Group, said that while the year was a particularly difficult one for Rank, things have improved at the start of 2021-22.

“The year to 30 June 2021 was exceptionally challenging for the Group and, frankly, we are delighted it is over,” he said. “We are now well into a new financial year with our venues open and trading positively. 

“Good progress is being made in our digital businesses and there is a renewed sense of confidence as we focus on the growth initiatives within our clearly defined transformation programme.”

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