Rank Group Profits Fall, Says January Snow May Cost £3m

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By Shane Croucher | January 31, 2013 7:11 PM EST

The Rank Group PLC said profit was down to £31.3m in the first half (Reuters)

Rank Group PLC, the British bingo hall and casino firm, said it will likely take a £3m revenue hit because the heavy snowfall in January kept customers at home.

Shares in the group fell by around 1.5 percent in early London trading to change hands at 150.62 pence each.

The Mecca Bingo and Gala Casinos owner also reported a 4 percent fall in profit before tax for its half year to December 31 to £31.3m, blaming marketing layouts for its online gambling arm Blue Square Bet and higher operating costs for its bingo halls.

Group revenue was up 5 percent to £312m.

 "Our focus remains on generating sustainable returns for our shareholders," said Ian Burke, Rank's chief executive.

"Allowing for the slow start to the second half we remain confident in our prospects for the remainder of the year and in our longer-term growth strategy."

Rank also said it is expecting a decision from the Competition Commission on February 20 on whether it is allowed to buy the casino business of Gala Coral.

The deal, if regulators approve it, will be worth £205m.

Competition Commission officials said in a preliminary report that Rank may have to sell six of its casinos to get the deal through them.

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