Spotlight – Rank cuts fun to boost profit

Rank Group finance director Nigel Turnbull will be presenting his parts of the leisure empire to put the group firmly in the black Rank cuts fun to boost profit. last set of interim results next week after 12 years with the leisure giant.

Turnbull, who is expected to retire between now and Christmas, will make way for a replacement on the bridge of a company that suffered a disastrous 1998 but is now making a slow recovery due to concentration on improving margins and reducing costs.

This has included plans to sell the nightclub and amusement machines business in a bid to raise £130m. Rank will also be closing three Butlins’ family entertainment resorts for redevelopment.

As a result of all this activity analysts predict that the company will post final-year results up from a £50m pre-tax loss to a £245m pre-tax profit by the end of the year.

Although Turnbull will no longer be part of the empire, he will still be heavily involved in the corporate governance paper that now bears his name.

Conducted with the backing of the English ICA and the approval of the Stock Exchange, Turnbull has led a high-profile consultation exercise in order to review current corporate governance practice and produce guidance for directors of listed companies.

Insiders close to the working party confirm responses have been positive and do not expect there to be any great changes to the document which is designed to promote awareness of business risks through internal audit procedures.

‘There were a lot of comments but there was a wide support for the thrust of the proposals,’ said one.

The report was deliberately written in a style designed not to be prescriptive but to ensure that listed companies examine risks outside the purely financial on a rolling basis.

Turnbull will head up the process of producing final guidance that will become part of the Stock Exchange’s listing rules. A definitive version of the report is expected to be launched by the end of September.

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