Betfred Reports Profitability Despite the Pandemic

Betfred reports profitability for 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the hardships it had along the way.

Betfred Records Profit in Its Annual Report

Betfred, a bookmaker based in the UK, has reported profitability despite the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Betfred’s annual report for the year to September 27, 2020, presented this week with Companies House, shows a profit after tax of around £165M ($228.6M) from £156.7M ($217M) in the previous year. Its operating profits rose to $144.7 million after credit, from $103.6 million after credit to exceptional costs of $137.3 million.

About $135.2 million of its profit came from Betfred’s successful claim against HMRC last year, over the VAT Betfred paid on FOBT for seven years between 2005 and 2013. The company reported profit from the amount of its investment to around $130.6 million “from a fair value gain of the group’s investment in shares listed on the London Stock Exchange.”

Betfred Closes Shops, Reduces Staff

Besides the pandemic, which impacted the sports industry worldwide, and the closure of betting shops in the UK in 2020, Betfred managed to emerge with profits and reported revenue growth for the period. The company reported a profit despite the amounts wagered, around $9 billion from almost $14 billion in the year before.

Betfred’s EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization), before exceptional items, fell to almost $48 million, as opposed to $67 million. Betfred also reported 1,529 operating betting shops at the end of the period, as opposed to 1,578 from the year before. The number of staff also fell to 6,993 from 7,154.

Betfred Might Be Eyeing William Hill’s Ops

The company also owes its profits to its successful investment in William Hill, which is its rival. Fred Done, Betfred’s founder, built up a 6% stake in William Hill. The investment proved to be a success after Caesars Entertainment acquired William Hill in April.

Now, Caesars has started the process of selling William Hill’s non-US operations. Betfred could be one of the investors interested in buying at least some of its betting shops. Caesars would sell non-US operations in their entirety, so Betfred might have to wait a little longer for another bidder to split them up further.

Apollo Global Management, a private equity firm, could be eying William Hill, as well, along with 888, a popular online gaming and betting operator. The competition is beginning to heat up, which could lead to a higher price tag once Caesars makes its final determination.