Bookmaker Ladbrokes said its first-half group operating profit fell by a third to £56.8m after it was hit by switching its online operations to a new platform, but said it had a good World Cup performance. 

Chief executive Richard Glynn, who had come under pressure from some shareholders, said the operational improvements were delivered in time for the World Cup. 

"Our World Cup performance demonstrated that we now offer, across the Group, a more competitive product with an encouraging customer response across all channels," he said. 

Staking on the soccer competition in Brazil grew more than 20% on 2010, the company said. 

The fall in operating profit was broadly in line with market expectations, with analysts expecting £55.7m on average.

Today's results show that amounts being staked by Irish gamblers in its betting shops fell 6.7% over the first half of the year.

Its net revenue here was down 10.6% and operating profit was 60% lower at £2.5m. The company said the competitive environment remains challenging in Ireland.