Horse Racing at Turfontein. Picture: Russell Roberts. File Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL
Horse Racing at Turfontein. Picture: Russell Roberts. File Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL

A disappointing performance from Phumelela Gaming & Leisure’s traditional tote operations was compensated for by a pleasing performance from its fixed odds bookies, the sports betting group said in its results for the year to end-July, released on Friday morning.

Phumelela, historically a horse track owner, has over the past few years diversified geographically while the relaxation of SA’s gambling laws has allowed it to expand the range of bets it offers to soccer and other sports

Income from its South African operation declined 1% to R1.2bn while its international arm grew income by 12% to R307m.

The group’s net income grew 4% to R1.55bn and its aftertax profit grew 18% to R143m.

Phumelela maintained its final dividend at 70c, keeping its total for the year level at R1.04.

"Horse racing is an integral part of our total product offering and inseparable from the success we have achieved internationally. We continue to invest in supporting a high-quality South African racing product and experience," the results statement said.

Phumelela raised R289m via a rights offer in February to finance its acquisition of half of online bookie Supabets.

It also raised its holding in Interbet from 26% to 50%. Both deals became effective on March 1, three months before the end of its financial year.

The long-running legal battle between Phumelela and bookmakers over the fees it charges for its horse-racing results news service was still ongoing, the statement said.

"Phumelela continues to fight for a fairer funding dispensation for the sport of thoroughbred horse racing. Civil and criminal lawsuits filed against bookmakers for unlawfully displaying Tellytrack are ongoing."

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