Significant growth for online gambling software provider

The chairman of online gambling software provider Playtech plc, Roger Withers, reported on the company's progress to investors at the annual general meeting this week, flagging a financial performance for the year ended 31 December 2008 that showed significant growth as revenues rose by 70 percent to Euro 111.5 million, whilst adjusted net profit before tax rose by 54 percent to Euro 40.5 million. The Board recommended the payment of a final dividend of Euro 7.6 cents per share, which follows an interim dividend payment of Euro 7.6 cents per share, making a total dividend of Euro 15.2 cents per share.

Withers noted that the group's most significant achievement during the year was the successful completion of a private placement in June 2008, which raised GBP 112 million and underlined the confidence of investors in the company. The proceeds were used to undertake a transformational transaction with William Hill Online, which involved Playtech's acquisition of certain online gaming marketing assets, businesses and contracts from affiliates and other third parties for a total consideration of up to $250 million in cash and the immediate injection of those assets into a new joint venture with William Hill in return for a 29 percent interest in William Hill Online.

During the year, Playtech's enteded the newly regulated Italian market. Four of the group's 16 new licensees were derived from this major development, and regulated markets remain an important target for Playtech's expansionary ambitions in 2009.

Withers announced quarter one reslts (see below), saying that the venture with William Hill Online is performing well and in line with expectations. Current trading for April 2009 was positive, where on an average daily basis, gross income improved by over 5 percent compared with the daily average over the whole of Q1 2009.

"The Company maintains a strong pipeline of new licensees in various jurisdictions, with a strong focus on regulated markets, presenting exciting new business opportunities ahead in 2009," said Withers. "Despite the challenging economic environment, the board remains comfortable with market expectations for the full year."

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