High street bookie Ladbrokes (LAD) gets a World Cup boost as revenues hit £589.3 million in the first half to June. But profits fall dramatically as punters' run of luck continues, halving last year's £55.1 million pre-tax profit to £27.7 million. Despite the weaker bottom line, the company said its financial performance during the World Cup was 'strong' with staking growing 20% on the last tournament four years ago. Mobile was the standout performer with staking up over 1,100% over the 2010 World Cup, helping the wider Digital platform to grow staking by over 40%.
Online takeaway food ordering system Just Eat (JE.) jumps 7.5% higher to 236p as excellent maiden half-year figures confirm key metrics surging ahead. Over the six months to June, sales burgeoned 58% higher to £69.8 million, underlying EBITDA rocketed up from £2.3 million to £15.9 million and orders were up 50% to £27.5 million. The FTSE 250 firm also flags 'significant' year-on-year growth in July.
Troubled support services group Serco (SRP) pays the price for recent outsourcing scandals as interim profits slump and the company predicts further challenges ahead. Operating profits for the half year to June dropped 59% to to £50.7 million, although the market is reassured by a big bite taken out of net debt, down from £731.5 million to £559.3 million. The shares rise 4.7% to 344.45p.
Life insurer and wealth manager Prudential (PRU) improves 2.3% to £13.70 on the group collecting 15% more cash in the first six months of the year, at £974 million. New business profits jumped 24% to £1 billion helping to fund a 15% hike in interim dividend to 11.1p a share.
Investment platform group Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) slides 2.8% to £10.51 after analysts at UBS initiate coverage with a ‘Sell’ recommendation.
Recently merged electricals-to-mobile phones retailer Dixons Carphone (DC.) clips ahead 0.05p to 330.05p. Investors welcome last night's news it has completed the sale of its Slovakia and Czech Republic-focused ElectroWorld chain to local player Nay.
Online buying platform operator CloudBuy (CBUY:AIM) leaps more than 20% to 38p as it unveils a contract with the Australian State Government. Worth an initial A$0.9 million a year, the deal has the scope to be worth up to A$7.2 million in time.
Electronic purchasing platform Proactis (PHD) rallies more than 7.5% to 60.25p as it reveals soaring recurring revenues up 159% to £14 million for the year to end July. The running Shares Play of the Week is making particularly good progress in the US.
Pumps and motors supplier and running Shares Play of the Week Hayward Tyler (HAYT) advances 4% to 77.5p as the shares recover from yesterday's sell-off. This related to a shut down by EDF (EDF:PA) on three of its nuclear power stations following the discovery of a fault in a boiler unit. House broker finnCap notes chief executive officer Ewan Lloyd Baker has confirmed it is not a product connected with the company.
Pre-clinical cancer and infectious disease vaccine developer Scancell (SCLP:AIM) rises 4.8% to 32.7p on a combination of its drugs ‘significantly’ prolonging the lives of animals suffering from melanoma.
Abu Dhabi-focused private healthcare company Al Noor Hospitals (ANH) gains 2.9% to £10.20 on pre-tax profits rising 84% to $45.6 million in the six months to July. The company proposes a maiden 3.7p a share dividend.
Kitchens and furniture retailing micro cap John Lewis of Hungerford (JLH:AIM) is marked down 12.9% to 1.35p. A proposed name change to Grove (Oxfordshire), reflecting the growth of its installation business, leaves investors cold.
Global investor Witan Investment Trust (WTAN) is 2p off at 690p after lacklustre interims that show a modest 1.1% rise in net asset value, versus a 2.3% increase in its benchmark. However, the vehicle continues its record of progressive dividend payments, with a second interim distribution of 3.6p, taking total distributions for the first half to 7.2p, versus 6.6p in 2013.