Spot the Ball owners win £80m tax prize

SPOT THE BALL owners Sportech have ended up hitting the target after winning an £80m VAT tribunal case against the taxman.

The listed pool-betting business has had a long-running battle against HM Revenue & Customs over what it believes is wrongly-applied VAT, between 1979 and 1996, on Spot the Ball.

The first-tier tribunal found in favour of Sportech. HMRC has until 30 April to appeal but has yet to give its intentions. The VAT overpayment relates to £40m, while simple interest will bring the total up to more than £80m.

It has proved a good week for Sportech, which said it had made “significant progress” in restructuring the business. Despite seeing revenues decrease by 5% to £112m, the decline was mainly down to discontinuing unprofitable activities following acquisitions.

Its EBITDA climbed 1% to £26.4m, while its statutory profit fell to £2.1m after refinancing and exceptional costs. A few days earlier it agreed a deal with UK Tote to install 1,000 new terminals.

Sportech’s chare price climbed to 116p from 88p on news of the tribunal win. It now sits at 109.25p, valuing the company at £217.2m by market cap.

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