Paddy Power posts €167m in profits
PADDY Power, the Dublin-based bookmaker, has overcome a year in which sports results "had more ups and downs than Taylor Swift's love life" to report record profits and announce a €392m special cash return.
Revenue last year jumped 18pc to €882m, helping the bookie to post a 21pc hike in pre-tax profits to €167m.
As well as announcing a €1.02 final dividend, the company said it would return a further €8 per share to investors by taking on debt and distributing surplus cash.
A strong World Cup (above)helped to counter a string of football results that were bad for the bookie because favourites won, particularly in the first-half of the year.
The bookmaker said it is seeing strong growth in betting on mobile devices. It makes more of its operating profit from online gambling than it does from its shops.
Paddy Power's Irish operations are doing well. There was a 15pc increase in operating profit to just over €15m from its Irish retail operations.
That success is in stark contrast to UK rival Ladbrokes which last week announced a "fundamental review" of its Irish betting shop chain and said it may have to take "drastic action" to stem losses here.
Paddy Power said it had run the rule over several possible acquisitions in recent years but they were not as "compelling" as its own organic growth strategy.
"We therefore believe that this is an opportune time to return a material amount of capital to our shareholders, whilst retaining the flexibility to respond to opportunities that may arise," chief executive Andy McCue said.