Flutter earnings soar as sporting events reopen
Flutter's first-half earnings rose 75% as the gambling group benefited from the acquisition of Stars in the US and restoration of sporting events as the Covid-19 crisis eased.
Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation increased to £597m from £342m in the six months to the end of June from a year earlier as revenue doubled to £3.05bn from £1.54bn. Excluding the US, adjusted earnings doubled to £684m from £339m.
The owner of Paddy Power, Betfair and FanDuel in the US said the second half had started well and it expected full-year earnings, excluding the US, of £1.27bn to £1.37bn assuming no further disruption from Covid-19. The US is set for an adjusted earnings loss of £225m-£275m.
Flutter is investing heavily in the US, which is seen as the next big growth market for gambling after a ban on sports betting was lifted in 2018. It had a 45% share of the US online sportsbook market in the second quarter. It bought Stars in May 2020 to expand its presence in the world's biggest economy.
Peter Jackson, Flutter's chief executive, said: "The first half of 2021 exceeded our expectations as we made substantial progress against our operational and strategic objectives while maintaining excellent momentum in growing our player base. Our global sports businesses benefitted from further enhancements to our products and the return to more normalised sporting calendars."
Flutter shares rose 8.6% to £140.50 at 09:41 BST and were the biggest gainers in the FTSE 100 index.
Danni Hewson, an analyst at AJ Bell, said: "Flutter’s US business continues to perform very strongly – benefiting both from the opening up of sports betting in new states and from the successful fantasy sports franchise FanDuel – though the latter is unlikely to be profitable for some time yet. Sports betting is benefiting from a return to a more normal sporting calendar after significant pandemic-linked disruption."