Paddy Power
A man holds an advertisement for Paddy Power, an Irish bookmaker, in front of St Peter's square, outside the Vatican Reuters

Irish bookie Paddy Power reported a record breaking year in 2014 on the back of a strong second half, which included a "bonanza" at the 2014 World Cup.

"Last year had more ups and downs than Taylor Swift's love life," began the statement from the betting firm. However, there was only one up that mattered as Paddy Power reported a 21% jump in profit before tax to €166.6m (£120m, $185m) – a record high for the company.

It attributed its success to double-digit growth in new customers – up 24% - and net revenue which rose by a fifth to €553m.

Andy McCue, chief executive, said: "We had a positive run in the second half, including a bonanza during the final stages of the World Cup, [but] we didn't manage to fully overturn a heavy first half deficit.

"As a result, the Group's gross win percentage was some 0.3% below our expectations, which had a gross impact of approximately €24m before any customer recycling of winnings and related reductions in cost.

"Some mad and bad World Cup antics saw us welcome 148,000 new online customers over a four week period."