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Paddy Power profits hit by soccer and horse racing results

A man holds an advertisement for Paddy Power, an Irish bookmaker, in front of St Peter's square, outside the Vatican February 12, 2013. REUT
A man holds an advertisement for Paddy Power, an Irish bookmaker, in front of St Peter's square, outside the Vatican February 12, 2013. REUT

By Padraic Halpin

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Bookmaker Paddy Power expects full year operating profit to be about 11 million euros ($15 million) lower than it forecast three months ago after unfavorable soccer and horse racing results.

The Dublin-based group, which has posted stellar top-line profit growth in recent years, said results had gone against it since July, particularly at the Australian Spring Horse Racing Carnival and Champions League soccer.

"We now expect low to mid single digit percentage operating profit growth in 2013 in constant currency, before currency translation headwinds of 3 percent," Paddy Power said in a trading update covering the period July 1 to November 17.

"This is approximately 11 million euros lower than the mid-point of our guidance at the time of our interim results."

Last week British rival Ladbrokes responded to speculation it could be forced to cut estimates for the second time in three months on adverse sports results, insisting it was on track to hit analysts' forecasts.

Paddy Power reported an operating profit increase of 12 percent to 75.4 million euros in the first half of the year with the group's market-leading online division driving revenues up 22 percent.

It said on Tuesday that online sports turnover, excluding its growing Australian business, rose 15 percent compared to the same period to mid-November last year, with Australian online up 26 percent and retail up 5 percent.

Paddy Power has been quicker than competitors at reacting to customers moving online and makes more than 75 percent of its profit through Internet betting. It said on Tuesday that competition in the UK online market continues to strengthen.

The betting group, which has expanded into France and Canada through partnerships, launched its brand last year in Italy and said it has maintained an estimated 8 to 9 percent share of the online sports betting market there.

(Editing by Louise Ireland)

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