Entain H1 profit jumps on online gambling demand
Entain set a date for the likely restart of dividends as the sports betting company reported a sharp rise in first-half profit driven by online gambling.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose 12% to £401m in the six months to the end of June as revenue increased 12% to £1.77bn. Profit after tax rose to £90.9m from £22.4m.
The FTSE 100 group declared no interim dividend but said if Covid-19 restrictions continue to ease around the world it expects to be in a position to restart dividends with its annual results in March. Entain stuck to its guidance for full-year earnings between £850m and £900m.
Entain's results were boosted by a full sporting calendar and surging demand for online gambling, offsetting the closure of its Ladbrokes and Coral bookmakers for part of the first half. The company rejected an £8bn offer from MGM International, its US partner, in January but speculation has resurfaced that MGM will bid again.
Jette Nygaard-Andersen, Entain's chief executive, said: "Entain's platform continues to deliver. The quality and diversification of our businesses has enabled us to deliver our 22nd consecutive quarter of double-digit online growth, while also making excellent progress on our strategic priorities."