Worldspreads has sold its sports betting unit to its manager

Irish spread betting firm Worldspreads has sold its sports betting unit to its manager, Fergus Rice, after last month announcing its retreat from the sector, reports The newspaper in Ireland.

The company said Monday that it has agreed to sell the business to Rice for an initial payment of Euro 250 000.

The newspaper reports that Worldspreads will be hoping to recoup at least some of its losses related to the unit, having already indicated it will write down about Euro 1.5 million associated with the enterprise after it encountered "difficult trading" in the past year. The sports division made an after-tax profit of Euro 350 000 for the year to March 31 2008 on revenue of Euro 1.6 million, but it will report a trading loss for the year to the end of March 2009 due to declining revenues.

If the venture achieves at least Euro 4.5 million in cumulative revenues over the three year earn-out period, Worldspreads will be able to claim a further Euro 1.25 million in terms of the leveraged buyout agreement.

The Independent advises that some 98 percent of Worldspreads' revenues have been generated from the financial markets before the sale of the sports betting unit, with 75 percent of its overall business originating in Ireland and the UK. Overseas expansion is on the cards as the company strives to extend its overseas presence through offices in Greece and Malaysia.

Worldspreads CEO Conor Foley has predicted that within the next 18 months, half of the company's business will be generated outside Ireland and Britain.

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