Phumelela Gaming and Leisure expected headline earnings a share and basic earnings a share for the six-month period to January to be between 25 percent and 35 percent higher than the prior corresponding period, the betting group said yesterday. The group runs a majority of the horse racing and tote betting activities in South Africa. It previously faced opposition from racehorse breeder Phindi Kema on plans to merge with Thoroughbred Horseracing Trust, Kenilworth Racing and Gold Circle. Kema had argued that the merger would give Phumelela 90 percent of the country’s racing market. In February, the Constitutional Court dismissed Kema’s application for leave to appeal after the Competition Appeal Court approved the merger. The shares leapt after the trading statement release and closed 4.95 percent up at R19.10 yesterday. – Nompumelelo Magwaza