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GVC flags more savings from Ladbrokes deal, strong World Cup

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By Reuters

(Reuters) – Gambling firm GVC Holdings Plc <GVC.L> said on Thursday it had identified an extra 30 million pounds in cost savings from its 4-billion-pound purchase of Ladbrokes Coral as it reported solid half year results and a surge in revenue in July and August.

The company, alongside other UK bookmakers, benefited from the World Cup tournament in July despite England’s semi-final loss to Croatia, as the event helped boost online sportsbook transactions and new online accounts.

The company confirmed earlier guidance for an 8 percent rise in revenue when comparing the performance of the whole business to Ladbrokes and GVC performance a year ago.

GVC, which has gaming sites in 21 languages and accepts bets in 19 currencies, said trading in the period from July 1 to Sept. 2 was strong, with a 14 percent rise in net gaming revenue helped by the final two weeks of the World Cup.

The extra synergies from the Ladbrokes deal are in addition to the 130 million pounds identified earlier, the company said, adding that it is “well placed to deliver those savings while driving top line growth”.

GVC is one of several major European gambling firms to have signed partnerships with U.S. casino chains since the U.S. Supreme Court paved the way to legalise sports betting.

Its shares hit a record high at the end of July after it agreed to set up an online U.S. betting platform with U.S. hotel and casino operator MGM Resorts International <MGM.N> but have since retreated.

Underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization rose 11 percent to 349.5 million pounds on a pro forma basis in the first half ended June 30.

The biggest boost to revenue came from online channels, where net gaming revenue rose 18 percent.

(Reporting by Justin George Varghese and Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Patrick Graham and Sai Sachin Ravikumar)