By Daniel Hunter
Turnover and earnings at North West bookmakers BetFred soared to record levels in a year of progress and investment.
The group - by turnover the biggest in the region - grew revenues by 19% to £8bn, while EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortisation) surged 30% to £69m in the year to the end of March as a result of synergies related to the group's successful acquisition of The Tote.
After breaking even last year, the group made a pre-tax profit of £23m.
BetFred, led by its veteran founder Fred Done, now has 10,000 staff of which 3,200 are based in this region, with head office functions in Wigan and Warrington.
The company said it had delivered over and above on its promises to the Government made as part of the Tote deal, in terms of support for the racing industry, paying £12.5m - £3.5m more than it had pledged.
Other highlights of the period included a £43m reduction in net debt to £213m, 42% earnings growth in its BetFred.com arm to £6.6m and the launch of its own in-house TV channel, at MediaCityuk.
Synergies delivered from the Tote acquisition were £23.7m, above initial forecasts of £20.5m, the company said.
The founder of BetFred, Fred Done said: "I am delighted to report such a positive set of results. We continue to grow strongly and evolve our range of products. Our estate of 1,375 betting shops is performing well and we are making great strides in improving and enhancing our online and mobile offerings.
“We are very excited about the future and are positive about the outlook for the business."
Finance director Barry Nightingale said further growth was expected in online and mobile betting in the current financial year, while between 25 to 30 more shops will be opened in the next year.
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