Rank offloads Belgian business

Rank has announces it has reached an agreement to sell its Blankenberge casino and associated digital licence to Kindred Group.  The disposal is subject to regulatory approvals by the Belgian Gaming Commission and the Blankenberge City Council and constitutes a Class 2 transaction for the purposes of the Listing Rules.

Having closed its Middlekerke operations in 2017, Blankenberge has been Rank’s sole remaining casino venue in Belgium. For the full year to 30 June 2020, Blankenberge contributed £2.7 million to Group profit before tax and reported gross assets of £4.2 million as at 30 June 2020.

Rank successfully negotiated the renewal of its operating licence for Blankenberge in 2018 and has materially improved the venue’s performance in the period since then, increasing its attractiveness to potential purchasers. The online licence attributed to the venue has been operated under licence to Kindred since August 2012.

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Total consideration for the sale of the business, which is subject to the regulatory approvals set out above, is £25 million on a cash free / debt free basis, to be satisfied in cash. Net proceeds will be used to reduce the Group’s net debt position and for general corporate purposes. The Group continues to review opportunities for maintaining appropriate levels of debt for the business. The disposal will also support management’s focus on Rank’s transformation 2.0 programme to drive improvement across its core businesses.

John O’Reilly, Chief Executive of The Rank Group Plc, said: “The announcement of the sale of the Blankenberge casino secures the next chapter for a great venue in Belgium and a team that deliver an excellent customer experience to the local community. As a standalone casino, the business was non-core to Rank’s international growth plans and the £25m sale proceeds supports the Group’s liquidity and future growth initiatives.”