Rank Looks To Safe Venue Reopening’s As It Reports Q3 2020/2021 Update

Trading under lockout conditions for the most recent quarterly reporting period resulted in a 72 percent drop in company like-for-like sales, according to Rank Group Plc.

The LSE gambling group released a Q3 2020/2021 trading and corporate liquidity update for the period ending 31 March on Thursday, stating that net sales at its Grosvenor and Mecca venues had dropped by 98 percent.

The digital output of Rank dropped by 3 percent in the third quarter. On its year-to-date performance, however, the company stated that it had maintained “sequential digital growth.”

The NGR of Grosvenor Digital fell 2 percent in Q3 compared to Q2, but the division’s Mecca Digital division continued to grow, with Q3 NGR up 4 percent over the previous quarter.

When it came to Stride, Rank revealed that NGR had increased by 7 percent since Q2 trading. Yo’s (Spain) growth accelerated as well, with NGR up 10 percent from the previous quarter.

Digital improvements

Rank reported that its digital portfolio will return to year-over-year growth by Q1 2021/2022, citing digital improvements.

Rank finished the quarter with total cash and available facilities of £89.8 million, comfortably retaining its minimum covenant of £50 million, according to an update on group-wide liquidity.

Rank explained that its deferred rent had decreased to £13.9 million, down from £17.3 million announced on December 31, 2020, assisting its venue operations during the lockout.

‘Duty refund’

Rank won a £13.4 million ‘duty refund’ during the quarter after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of another taxpayer on the treatment of free gaming chips.

The sale of Rank’s Belgian West Flanders casino subsidiary Blancas NV to Kindred Group, which produced £25 million in cash proceeds, has bolstered the company’s cash reserves even more.

Group CEO John O’Reilly updated investors, saying the company was focusing on a safe reopening of its UK venues and working on its group transformation goals.

Focussed on reopening UK venues

O’Reilly explained: “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.

“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.”