Rank Group focused on next phase as UK venues near reopening date

The Rank Group is focused on welcoming patrons back to its range of venues, after ending the third quarter “broadly where we expected” and offering its latest trading update during which time its business was “inevitably” heavily impacted by the pandemic.

Delivering a liquidity and trading update for the quarter ending March 31, 2021, total net gaming revenue is reported to have dropped 72 per cent, with like-for-like NGR down 76 per cent.

The company says that its focus remains on continuing to grow its digital NGR, for which it expects to return to profitability during Q1 2021/22. For the reported period, digital NGR was down three per cent, with retail plummeting 98 per cent.

The quarter saw all UK venues closed for the entire period, while in Spain nine Enracha venues were open and operating by the end of Q3. Rank says that it experienced “strong customer demand, albeit under very strict capacity restrictions”.

On a month-to-month basis, Grosvenor Digital’s NGR dropped two per cent, however, Mecca Digital, Stride, and Yo continued to improve with increases of four per cent, seven per cent, and ten per cent, respectively.

“We have ended Q3 broadly where we expected to be and are now very focused on the reopening of our UK venues from 17 May alongside continuing to drive digital NGR growth,” says John O’Reilly, CEO of Rank

“Our business has inevitably been heavily impacted by the pandemic but, with the strong support and dedication of our colleagues, we are now very much looking forward to reopening our casino and bingo venues, welcoming back our customers and providing the great entertainment and omni-channel service in a COVID safe environment we know they enjoy.

“We continue to make good progress on the transformation 2.0 plans which will drive the next phase of growth for the group.”

Rank also updates that it ended the quarter with total cash and available facilities of £89.8m, a figure which “comfortably” achieved its minimum liquidity agreement of £50m.

During the quarter, the group adds received a £13.4m duty refund following the Supreme Court’s decision in favour of another taxpayer on the treatment of free gaming chips.  The amount of deferred rent has reduced to £13.9m from £17.3m at 31 December 2020.

Following the culmination of the reporting period, the company has also completed its previously announced divestment of its Blankenberge casino in Belgium, and associated digital licence, to the Kindred Group for £25m.