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UPDATE 1-Australia's Tabcorp misses profit expectations on virus hit

(Adds details on results, capital raise)

Aug 19 (Reuters) - Tabcorp Holdings Ltd on Wednesday reported a lower-than-expected full-year underlying profit, as coronavirus-led closures of betting shops and cancellation of sports events hammered the gambling firm’s bottom line.

The company was forced to close its retail betting agencies several times amid lockdown measures to prevent the spread of the virus, while pubs and clubs that house betting terminals were also shut.

Underlying profit after tax fell to A$271 million ($196.48 million) for the year ended June 30, from A$396 million a year earlier, dropping short of estimates of A$274.8 million, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Including a non-cash goodwill impairment charge of $1.10 billion related to its wagering & media and gaming services businesses, it reported a statutory loss after tax of A$870 million.

“There continues to be uncertainty associated with COVID-19 in terms of both the severity and duration of the impact,” Chief Executive David Attenborough said in a statement.

The company also said it plans to raise A$600 million to pay down existing drawn bank debt, strengthen its balance sheet and comply with debt covenants.

“Our focus is on positioning Tabcorp to emerge strongly in the post COVID-19 environment,” Attenborough added. ($1 = 1.3793 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Arpit Nayak in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Shailesh Kuber)

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