Ad
Ad
Ad
Tag

boom

Browsing

[ad_1]

Ladbrokes owner Entain cuts profit forecast as online gambling boom falters despite retail sales jump

  • Entain predicts underlying earnings of between £875m and £885m for 2021
  • The betting business benefited from a much-fuller sporting calendar last year
  • Fourth-quarter online gaming revenue at the FTSE 100 firm fell 6% year-on-year 










Gambling group Entain has narrowed its guidance as 23 consecutive quarters of digital revenue growth came to a shuttering end.

The Ladbrokes and PartyPoker owner forecasts making between £875million and £885million in underlying earnings for the 2021 financial year, against a much broader previous estimate of £850million to £900million.

Fourth-quarter digital revenue at the FTSE 100 firm fell 6 per cent year-on-year due to a solid comparative performance in 2020 when onerous Covid-19 restrictions led to betting shops closing and punters laying more bets online. 

Jumping strong: Ladbrokes owner Entain forecasts underlying earnings between £875million and £885million this financial year, against a previous estimate of £850million to £900million

Jumping strong: Ladbrokes owner Entain forecasts underlying earnings between £875million and £885million this financial year, against a previous estimate of £850million to £900million

Yet thanks to the majority of its more than 4,000 stores remaining open this time around, the group’s retail revenue between October and December surged by 62 per cent to within 10 per cent of pre-pandemic volumes.  

Although Entain’s retail revenue for the whole year plunged by over a fifth, a strong online performance in the first three quarters of last year helped its total net gaming revenues grow by 15 per cent.

The business, which also owns SportingBet and Coral, benefited from a much-fuller sporting calendar, including the UEFA European Football Championship, Tokyo Olympics events and the return of the Wimbledon Grand Slam tennis tournament.

But it has also reaped huge gains from the fast-expanding sports betting market in the United States, where activity has been flourishing since the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn a federal ban in 2018.  

Entain launched a tie-up with hospitality and entertainment company MGM Resorts the same year called BetMGM, which operates in 19 US states and territories. 

In a trading update released yesterday, the group revealed that it was the second-largest sports betting and gaming operator in the US markets where it functions for the three months to November 2021.

Big partnership: Entain launched its BetMGM tie-up with hospitality company MGM Resorts in the same year that the US Supreme Court overturned a federal ban on sports betting

Big partnership: Entain launched its BetMGM tie-up with hospitality company MGM Resorts in the same year that the US Supreme Court overturned a federal ban on sports betting

It expects revenues of around $850million for 2021, followed by more than $1.3billion the year afterwards, and to turn a positive underlying profit in 2023.

Chief executive Jette Nygaard-Andersen said: ‘2021 has been a successful and eventful period for Entain, and our market-leading platform has driven another year of strong, sustainable and diversified growth. 

‘All of our major markets have performed well. BetMGM, our hugely exciting business in the US, has been a particular highlight with FY21 net gaming revenue ahead of expectations and an upgraded outlook for 2022.’

The firm hopes to make further gains in the North American market when it launches online sportsbooks in Illinois, Louisiana and Ontario this year, and expands its bingo product and BetMGM Racing app into more states. 

Like many other British gambling companies, it has been the subject of serious takeover interest from US rivals, though it has not fallen into new ownership despite major bids being offered. 

MGM Resorts put forward an £8.1billion proposal to buy the group at the start of last year, but Entain rejected the deal on the grounds that its value was too low.

More recently, a £16.4billion takeover proposal from online betting giant DraftKings failed, with many analysts speculating that the joint venture partnership with MGM complicated the deal.

Shares in Entain were up 0.6 per cent to £17.20 during the mid-afternoon on Thursday, meaning their value has risen by 37.3 per cent over the last 12 months.

Advertisement



[ad_2]

[ad_1]

BUSINESS CLOSE: FTSE 100 rebounds; House prices grow at fastest rate since 2007; Aston Martin shares bounce; Shell rewards investors










The FTSE 100 has closed up 0.5 per cent at 7,485.3, after struggling for direction for most of the day, and having fallen by almost 1 per cent yesterday.

The more UK-focused FTSE 250 ended down 0.3 per cent at 23,353.25.

House prices were 9.8 per cent higher in December than a year earlier, marking the sharpest annual increase since July 2007, monthly figures from mortgage lender Halifax show. 

British car giant Aston Martin Lagonda successfully achieved its target to sell around 6,000 vehicles to wholesalers in 2021.

The sports car manufacturer revealed its wholesale sales jumped by 82 per cent to 6,182 last year, including slightly over 3,000 units of its DBX model to take a 20 per cent share of the luxury SUV market.

Shell said it would go ahead with its plan to return $5.5billion to shareholders through share buybacks after the sale of its US shale business. 

It also expects profits at its gas trading division to be ‘significantly higher’ in the last quarter of 2021 as it cashes in on rising prices.

 >If you are using our app or a third-party site click here to read Business Live           

UK house prices saw their sharpest annual increase since July 2007 last year

UK house prices saw their sharpest annual increase since July 2007 last year 

Advertisement



[ad_2]

[ad_1]

Cheapest flights available for Britons this month

  • £4 to Croatia: London Stansted to Zagreb (Ryanair, January 22, 0830-1150, 2h20m)
  • £5 to Italy: London Luton to Rome (WizzAir, January 22, 1020-1350, 2h30m) 
  • £5 to Netherlands: London Stansted to Eindhoven (Ryanair, January 22, 0615-0830, 1h05m) 
  • £6 to Norway: London Stansted to Oslo (Ryanair, January 22, 1800-2100, 2h) 
  • £6 to Poland: London Stansted to Krakow (Ryanair, January 22, 0840-1155, 2h15m) 
  • £7 to Austria: London Stansted to Vienna (Ryanair, January 22, 0830-1135, 2h05m) 
  • £8 to Bulgaria: London Stansted to Sofia (Ryanair, January 25, 0635-1135, 3h) 
  • £8 to Ireland: London Stansted to Dublin (Ryanair, January 25, 0530-0745, 1h15m) 
  • £9 to Czech Republic: London Stansted to Prague (Ryanair, January 25, 1145-1435, 1h50m) 
  • £9 to Denmark: London Stansted to Copenhagen (Ryanair, January 26, 0840-1125, 1h45m)
  • £9 to Germany: London Stansted to Berlin (Ryanair, January 22, 0730-1010, 1h40m) 
  • £9 to Greece: London Stansted to Athens (Ryanair, January 25, 1545-2115, 3h30m) 
  • £9 to Latvia: London Stansted to Riga (Ryanair, January 19, 0620-1055, 2h35m)
  • £9 to Portugal: London Stansted to Lisbon (Ryanair, January 25, 0620-0910, 2h50m) 
  • £9 to Romania: London Luton to Bucharest (WizzAir, January 22, 1650-2205, 3h15m) 
  • £9 to Spain: London Stansted to Zaragoza (Ryanair, January 22, 1245-1555, 2h10m) 
  • £9 to Sweden: London Stansted to Gothenburg (Ryanair, January 25, 1845-2140, 1h55m) 

Checked by MailOnline on Skyscanner at about 10am today. Flight arrival and departures times are local.

Travel companies were today braced for a surge in demand from British tourists after pre-departure Covid tests for those arriving in England were scrapped in a major boost for the beleaguered industry.

The requirement for travellers to self-isolate on arrival in England until they receive a negative PCR test is also being dropped – and they will instead have to take a lateral flow test no later than the end of day two after arriving.

The measures will save families hundreds of pounds on not having to buy so many tests and make it much easier to book holidays – with an expected surge in demand among winter sun-seekers and families looking to reunite with loved ones.

PCR tests on average cost around £80 per traveller, compared to £20-£30 for a rapid swab, saving families up to £200 on post-arrival tests alone. They could save another £100 in pre-departure tests. 

Britons can fly to 16 countries for under £10 this month – including Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Spain.

The cheapest single flights found today by MailOnline for this month were £4 from London Stansted to Zagreb with Ryanair, and £5 for both London Luton to Rome with WizzAir and Stansted to Eindhoven with Ryanair. UK tourists can also go from Stansted with Ryanair to Oslo or Krakow for £6, Vienna for £7 and Sofia or Dublin for £8.  

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement in the House of Commons yesterday that the Omicron variant of Covid-19 is now so prevalent in the UK that the measure is having limited impact on the spread of the disease.

Flight booking website Skyscanner now expects 2022 will now be a ‘bumper bargain year for travel’ with prices currently up to 71 per cent cheaper than pre-pandemic for some destinations, compared to the 2019 average.

The company said that in the first hours following Mr Johnson’s announcement, Skyscanner saw an 81 per cent increase in visits to the site, week on week. 

It said bookings by UK travellers were already up 25 per cent in the week to this Monday compared to the previous week – and the top five summer destinations booked by Britons are Orlando, Malaga, Faro, Alicante and Palma. 

Stephanie Boyle, Skyscanner’s global travel industry expert, told MailOnline: ‘This news will go a long way towards boosting confidence for travellers who are hoping to visit loved ones overseas or book a holiday in 2022. 

‘We expect to see a surge in demand from UK holidaymakers following the scrapping of pre-departure testing and self-isolation requirements, especially given the timing which aligns with a traditionally busy time for travel. 

Britons can fly to 16 countries for under £10 this month - including Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Spain

Britons can fly to 16 countries for under £10 this month – including Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Spain

Passengers sit in the international arrivals hall at London Heathrow Airport today after the new testing rules were announced

Passengers sit in the international arrivals hall at London Heathrow Airport today after the new testing rules were announced

Passengers walk around the departures area of London Heathrow Airport today after the rules were changed

Passengers walk around the departures area of London Heathrow Airport today after the rules were changed

Flight crew walk through Heathrow Airport today as it was revealed that pre-travel testing requirements will be dropped

Flight crew walk through Heathrow Airport today as it was revealed that pre-travel testing requirements will be dropped

‘Winter-weary workers returning this week after the festive period tend to want something to look forward to and will be keen to book breaks in the short term as well as planning bigger trips for the summer.’ 

She added: ‘We have more information on what we can expect from a calendar year living with the virus now and many will be planning big trips for the summer when traditionally we have seen fewer restrictions. 

What will the new travel rules be for UK tourists? 

If you qualify as fully vaccinated for travel to England (meaning at least 14 days has passed since your second jab), and you will arrive in England after 4am tomorrow (Friday, January 7), you do not need to:

  • Take a Covid test before you travel to England
  • Quarantine when you arrive in England

If you qualify as fully vaccinated and will arrive in England after 4am this Sunday (January 9), you can choose to take a lateral flow test instead of a PCR test after you arrive in England.

If you take a lateral flow test and test positive, you will need to self-isolate and take a free confirmatory PCR.

You must book the test before you travel to England. You can book lateral flows from 4am tomorrow (January 7).

You must take the lateral flow test no later than the end of day two after arriving. For example, if you arrive on a Monday, this would be by the end of the Wednesday.

You cannot use a lateral flow until after 4am this Sunday. Before this time, you must use a PCR test after arrival. 

The fully vaccinated rules also apply to children aged 17 and under, people taking part in an approved vaccine trial, and people who are unable to have a vaccination due to medical reasons. Click here for more details

‘The travel industry has proved its agility and resistance through difficult times and will be hoping for these new simpler rules to remain in place without change to continue the safe and sustained return of travel.’

The current travel testing rules were introduced in November last year amid a global panic over the spread of Omicron – but with the variant now dominant in the UK, many questioned why they remained.

Mr Johnson told the Commons that from this weekend, costly post-arrival PCR tests would be replaced with cheaper rapid swabs for the fully vaccinated.

Travellers must buy the post-arrival lateral flow tests from private providers before returning to England. They cannot use free NHS ones.

Pre-departure tests taken within 72 hours of travelling to England will also be axed. 

This change will come into force at 4am tomorrow, whereas the replacement of PCRs with lateral flows post-arrival will come into effect at 4am on Sunday.

The new rules will apply only to those who have been fully vaccinated – which means double, rather than triple-jabbed.

Children aged five to 17 will be treated as fully vaccinated even if they are not, meaning they must also take day two post-arrival lateral flow tests.  Under-fives are exempt. 

The changes apply only to England, with Scotland and Northern Ireland yet to declare if they will follow suit. In Wales, health minister Eluned Morgan said they would be ‘reluctantly’ following suit.

Mr Johnson said: ‘When the Omicron variant was first identified, we rightly introduced travel restrictions to slow its arrival in our country.

‘But now Omicron is prevalent, these measures are having limited impact on the growth in cases, while continuing to incur significant costs to our travel industry.’

The changes come just in time for the travel industry, with January traditionally the busiest period for summer holiday bookings.

A British Airway aircraft comes in to land at London Heathrow Airport yesterday evening as the rule changes were announced

A British Airway aircraft comes in to land at London Heathrow Airport yesterday evening as the rule changes were announced

An aircraft comes in to land at Heathrow Airport last night as Boris Johnson announced a relaxing of travel testing rules

An aircraft comes in to land at Heathrow Airport last night as Boris Johnson announced a relaxing of travel testing rules

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to the House of Commons yesterday where he announced changes to the travel rules

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to the House of Commons yesterday where he announced changes to the travel rules

Willie Walsh, director-general of the International Air Transport Association trade body, said: ‘This is a long- overdue and welcome step back to the pre-Omicron regime. It’s clear that the extra measures had little or no impact on the spread on this new variant.’

Shai Weiss, chief executive of Virgin Atlantic, said: ‘Travellers can now book with confidence and look forward to reconnecting with loved ones and business colleagues. Meanwhile… vital testing capacity can be reallocated where it is needed the most – in hospitals, schools and crucial national infrastructure.’

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of the industry body Airlines UK, said it would be a ‘massive boost’ for the sector at a ‘critical’ time of the year.

‘People will now be able to book knowing that – for the fully vaccinated – all emergency testing restrictions have been removed,’ he said.

‘Today marks an important step towards learning to live alongside the virus, helping passengers and the travel sector look ahead to what will be an all-important spring and summer season.’

EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren also welcomed the move but said the Government needed to go further.

‘This will make travel much simpler and easier and means our customers can book and travel with confidence,’ he said.

‘However, the Government must now urgently take the final step towards restriction-free travel and remove the last remaining unnecessary test for vaccinated travellers so flying does not become the preserve of the rich.’ 

A spokesman for Heathrow Airport said: ‘Although this is welcome news, there is still a long way back for aviation which remains the lifeblood of the UK’s economy, supporting millions of jobs in all four nations.’

NHS lateral flow tests cannot be used for international travel, and the tests must be brought from a private provider. 

Those who have already brought PCR tests for travelling needs can still use these.

Julia Simpson, chief of the World Travel & Tourism Council, said: ‘The removal of pre-departure tests and replacing Day 2 PCRs with more affordable antigen testing will significantly boost the UK travel and tourism sector and help both it, and the whole UK economy recover much faster than expected.’

And Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays said: ‘It is abundantly clear to everyone that travel testing requirements have had no impact on the spread of the Omicron variant, so this should represent the end of a set of measures that are not only disproportionate but futile too.

‘That said, the removal of these travel restrictions is the news that our customers have been desperate to hear, and the massive surge in traffic and bookings tells us that holidays are very much back on for UK holidaymakers.

‘Customers are jumping at the chance to book the holidays they have been looking forward to and we want to give them even more to smile about, which is why we are launching this sale.’

He added: ‘Whether it is a family holiday, a break with the other half or a group get together, we know how much everyone needs that well-deserved holiday.

‘Holidays just got a lot easier and whether it is sun, ski or a leisure city holiday, we can see just what a shot in the arm today is for customer confidence.’

[ad_2]

[ad_1]

Optimistic: Dame Irene Hays says 2022 will be a good year for travel

Optimistic: Dame Irene Hays says 2022 will be a good year for travel

Dame Irene Hays, the owner of Britain’s biggest independent travel agent, believes 2022 could finally be the year Britain gets a proper holiday

As soon as Boris Johnson scrapped stringent Covid tests for holidaymakers heading overseas, the phones started ringing off the hook at Hays Travel. 

With staff at her 455 shops now rolling their sleeves up to handle the surge of bookings to holiday hotspots from Spain to the Maldives and Caribbean cruises, she says: ‘When the announcement was made, it was such a sense of relief that this barrier and constraint has been removed. The feeling at Hays Travel was one of jubilation.’ 

Bookings are up 53 per cent since the Prime Minister confirmed on Wednesday that predeparture tests and quarantine on arrival would be scrapped for healthy vaccinated passengers from 4am last Friday. 

Lateral flow tests will replace PCR tests on arrival from today. 

As a sign of the huge pent-up demand and lockdown savings, Dame Irene says her sun-starved customers are spending £478 more than before the pandemic. 

An average family has splashed out £2,698 on a holiday over the past few days compared with £2,220 in 2019. 

Hays adds: ‘The testing, particularly the PCR test two days before returning to the UK, has been a barrier for people because of the worry that if they tested positive they would need to go into quarantine and the costs and disruption associated with that if they needed to come back and work.’ 

Almost half the bookings taken this month are for summer holidays – led by trips to Spain, Greece and the US – followed by soaring demand for long-haul winter sun destinations such as Sri Lanka and Barbados and a 34 per cent increase in bookings for cruises. 

Barring further restrictions, Hays believes this could be the turning point for the travel industry, after a rollercoaster two years when travel companies have endured endless false dawns due to changing rules. 

She says: ‘The travel industry has responded very well to Covid and put in place safety measures to ensure people feel safe when they go abroad.

‘Providing people are able to look after their health and comply with the arrangements in resorts and returning to the UK, then the sky’s the limit. The latent demand is enormous, so as long as there are no more constraints, it could be a fantastic year for travel.’ 

Dame Irene, a former city council leader, is one of the travel industry’s most respected figures and a ‘godmother’ to P&O’s biggest cruise ship, Iona, which she christened last May alongside former Take That singer Gary Barlow. 

Yet the 67-year-old’s journey through the pandemic’s choppy waters has been tougher than most. 

Having coped with the strain of saving the family business after revenues plummeted in February 2020, when some of Hays Travel’s customers were trapped on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the coast of Japan due to a Covid outbreak, her husband of 23 years, John Hays, died when he collapsed in the office in November the same year. 

The pair, both from mining towns in the North East of England, had built up the business John founded in the back of his mother’s babywear shop in County Durham in 1980, and were hailed as the ‘heroes of the high street’ when they bought 555 travel agents from bust chain Thomas Cook in October 2019, saving more than 2,000 jobs. 

Less than a year after the rescue deal, the couple were forced to announce that Covid travel bans meant 878 jobs at Hays Travel were at risk – which they called ‘the worst day we have ever had in our 40-year history’. 

They eventually cut redundancies to 494, by redeploying 384 staff to virtual call-centres and homeworking roles. 

‘It’s been a rollercoaster,’ says Dame Irene, who is now running the Sunderland-based business as chairwoman alongside chief operating officer Jonathon Woodall-Johnston. 

But in a sign of her inner steel as she fights to rebuild sales, she insists the crisis has presented ‘massive opportunities’ for the company. ‘This pandemic has been awful,’ she adds. ‘But it has given us time to innovate and diversify.’ 

Hays Travel is developing more unique holidays for customers keen for a taste of post-lockdown adventure: motorbiking on Route 66 in California on Harley Davidsons, for example. 

And from this month, it has launched direct flights to the Caribbean from six regional airports, including Bristol, Newcastle and Edinburgh, saving holidaymakers a trek to Heathrow or Manchester and a stop-off in the US. The direct flights are already sold out for 2022. 

Dame Irene says the business is also coming through the pandemic ‘strongly’ – thanks to the flexibility of its 4,300 staff as they adapted to working from home and its ‘peace of mind’ guarantee offering customers a full refund if they cancel or change the date of their trips six weeks before departure. 

Dame Irene says 53 per cent of its sales now come from customers booking holidays with the firm for the first time, compared to 19 per cent before the pandemic. 

‘This is a tremendous outcome,’ she says. 

‘People are coming to us because they want to know they will be looked after before they travel, if they are stuck in a resort, and when they come home.

‘Obviously there is a place for online bookings, but for anything with a high value or a bit of complexity, we are finding people want someone to help them find their holiday and to know who to go back to if there is a problem or worry.’ 

Hays Travel has 455 high street shops after axeing 89 former Thomas Cook travel agents in 2021, which were either in a bad state of repair or had high rents. That was part of a review that started before the pandemic. ‘We are very happy with our retail estate, and still believe it is part of a wider service we can provide for the customer,’ she says. 

The group’s latest financial results show a £34million loss for the 18 months to the end of April 2021. Sales fell to £747million, down from £1.1billion in 2019. 

Hays says the business remained loss-making until July last year but returned to profit from August. 

The losses are small compared to the billion-pound sums lost by other travel firms, she adds. 

‘One of the reasons why Hays Travel lost ‘only’ £34million was because we invested heavily in promoting and supporting all our cruise operators to give ‘seacations’ around the UK. That’s given people a taste of cruising and many have come back and booked an international cruise.’ 

Before the pandemic, Hays enjoyed ‘sensational’ holidays, she says. Now overseas travel is roaring back, she is planning a cruise of her own on the Amazon in South America. 

She had planned to go with John, who said presciently before he died: ‘Eventually there will be a vaccine – and the first thing people will want is a holiday.’ 

Looking emotional for the first time in our conversation, Hays says: ‘It was always something that John and I were going to do – so I’m going to do it on my own in April. I’ll raise a glass of wine to him.’

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

[ad_2]