Solid results for Unibet - update

The Swedish and UK online gambling giant Unibet plc will be holding its annual general meeting on 13 May 2009, with management presenting some positive numbers, although the Euro-bond debt continues to be a drain on resources.

Fugures released by the group in February in respect of the financial year ending December 31 2009 highlighted:

* Gross Winnings Revenue of GBP 34.9 (24.5m in 2007) million for the fourth quarter of 2008 and GBP 123.4 (81.4) million - up 52 percent - for the full year 2008.

* Profit from operations of GBP 12.8 (3.7m in 2007) million for the fourth quarter of 2008 and GBP 36.5 (21.4m in 2007) million - up 71 percent - for the full year 2008.

* Result before tax for the fourth quarter of 2008 amounted to GBP -0.3 (2.7) million. Profit before tax for full year 2008 amounted to GBP 11.1 (20.0) million.

* Result before tax for the fourth quarter was affected by a foreign exchange loss on the euro-denominated corporate bond of GBP 11.8 (1.2) million, of which GBP 10.2 (1.2) remains unrealised. For the full year 2008 the exchange loss on the bond was GBP 17.9 (1.2) million, of which GBP 15.1 (1.2) million is unrealised.

* Result after tax for the fourth quarter of 2008 amounted to GBP -0.9 (2.3) million. Profit after tax for the full year 2008 amounted to GBP 8.8 (18.7) million.

* Operating cash flow before movements in working capital amounted to GBP 15.2 (5.1) million for the fourth quarter 2008 and GBP 46.8 (26.2) million (+79%) for the full year 2008.

* Number of active customers at the end of the fourth quarter was down at 292 168 (309 431).

* The Board of Directors has proposed a dividend of GBP 0.23 (0.50) per share/SDR, which is approximately SEK 2.75 (6.00) per share/SDR and amounts to a proposed distribution to shareholders of GBP 6.4 (14.0) million.

The management report stressed that the company continued to enjoy a strong cash flow and a healthy profit from operations.

"Our well balanced product portfolio and customer offering has resulted in growth in gross winnings of over 50 percent and growth in profit from operations of over 70 per cent year on year," management revealed.

“The focus on cost control and the investment cycle over the last two years coming to an end has resulted in higher margins and a drop in capital expenditure of 34 percent, and our strong business model has delivered an increase in adjusted operating cash flow of over 170 percent year on year."

Commenting on the start of the new financial year, the management team said that the first six weeks of 2009 had continued to deliver a healthy growth in business.

“This is why we reiterate that given the growth in the online gambling market it is difficult to determine what impact the actual financial situation in the world has on our business model,” said Unibet CEO Petter Nylander.

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