Paddy Power has said that trading in the last seven weeks of last year was "good".

In a brief trading statement, the bookie chain said that it expects operating profit, before any exceptional items, of €180m for the year. 

This would result in fully diluted earnings per share of about €3.33, before costs related to its merger with Betfair, the company said.

Paddy Power also announced a final dividend of €1.20 per share for 2015. It said this would take the full year regular dividend for 2015 to €1.80 per share.

The company also reiterated that it expects its merger with rival Betfair to be completed on February 2.

The boards of the two companies reached a deal on the terms of a £6 billion all-share merger last September. 

The merged entity will be called Paddy Power Betfair and will be one of the world's largest public online betting and gaming companies. 

The merger will result in Paddy Power shareholders owning 52% of Paddy Power Betfair and Betfair Shareholders owning 48% of Paddy Power Betfair on a fully diluted basis.

Paddy Power shareholders will receive a special dividend of €80m just before the deal closes.