Good results for Sportech

Football pools operator Sportech has announced in a trading update that it expects full-year results to be in line with management expectations, following a robust period of trading during the second half of 2008. The firm's 2008 annual results are due for release in March 2009.

The Walton, UK business said initiatives introduced last year have resulted in "a major improvement in the strategic positioning and performance of the business" and trading during the second half of 2008 up to December 31 has been "robust".

The focus has been on improving the group's products, technology and targeting new players.

Sportech owns the Littlewoods, Zetters and Vernons football pools brands which were relaunched last August under the new umbrella brand The New Football Pools.

This has driven "increased resilience in customer numbers" aided by a deal covering Ladbrokes betting shops last month. Further distribution deals will be unveiled this year.

Sportech bought Aintree-based Vernons from Ladbrokes for GBP 51 million in December 2007 and this week's update reveals that most of the business has now been successfully integrated ahead of schedule.

Its gaming products were enhanced through a distribution partnership with online casino and poker business 888 Holdings in October last year.

An additional bingo brand, to complement the existing Littlewoods was launched this (January) month and will be joined by Pools and Slots products over the next few months.

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