Playtech's first quarter 2009 numbers released this week are the first to include its online gambling venture with William Hill Online, which the company has described as having significantly evolved the company's income model. William Hill Online is performing well and in line with expectations, the company said in a statement.

Playtech's key performance indicator, being gross income, increased by 14 percent in Q1 2009 over Q4 2008. This performance is reflected by strong cash generation during Q1 2009 of more than Euro 21 million and an enhanced adjusted EBITDA margin for the group.

The company noted the following financial highlights:

* Gross income for the quarter totalling Euro 36.0 million, representing an increase of 46 percent on the Euro 24.7 million earned in Q1 2008 and an increase of 14 percent on the Euro 31.5 million achieved in Q4 2008

* Adjusted EBITDA margin for the group now exceeds 83 percent, reflecting the higher margin contribution from the William Hill Online business

* Net cash at 31 March 2009 was recorded as Euro 53.0 million, an increase of Euro 21.4 million from the year end position

* Following reduced royalties from the 'purchased assets' injected into William Hill Online, which are being more than offset by an increased level of profit share, total group revenues in Q1 2009 were Euro 28.2 million, an increase of 14 percent from Euro 24.7 million in Q1 2008 and a decrease of 10 percent from Euro 31.5 million in Q4 2008. Pro-forma group revenues, adjusted historically for like for like comparison, show a 1 percent decrease in Q1 2009 on the previous quarter.

* Revenues from royalty income include only 13 days of William Hill Online poker migration and no contribution from the casino migration that is planned to be implemented later in the year

* Casino revenues totalled Euro 18.5 million, an increase of 8 percent from the Euro 17.2 million in Q1 2008 and a decrease of 16 percent on the Euro 22.1 million earned in Q4 2008. Pro-forma casino revenues, adjusted historically for like for like comparison, show a 6 percent decrease in Q1 2009 on the previous quarter.

* Poker revenues totalled Euro 8.8 million, an increase of 26 percent on Euro 7.0 million in the comparable 2008 quarter and an increase of 3 percent on the Euro 8.6 million achieved in Q4 2008. Pro-forma poker revenues, adjusted historically for like for like comparison, show a 7 percent increase in Q1 2009 on the previous quarter.
Share of William Hill Online profit in Q1 2009 totalled €7.8 million

Operational highlights included:

* William Hill integration is proceeding well with migration of the William Hill poker business to Playtech on March 19th earlier than planned

* Five new licence agreements were signed during the quarter, including well known operators Casino Grand Madrid in Spain and Gamenet in Italy

* Full launch of the Italian poker network in the second week of January 2009. Performance of the Italian poker network exceeding management expectations

* Strong pipeline of new licensees and exciting business opportunities ahead in 2009 including different online gaming operators as well as gaming operators in different and soon to be regulated jurisdictions

* Solid progress made towards entering other jurisdictions and MOUs agreed with several leading operators

* First branded game - The Gladiator - successfully launched

* Extension of live dealer gaming offering to European markets

* Launch of an improved bingo product, providing better player experience and enhanced management tools

* Exclusive multi-year licensing agreement signed with Marvel Characters B.V., a wholly owned subsidiary of Marvel Entertainment, Inc., to use Marvel's motion picture brands

* Exclusive multi-year licensing agreement signed with MGM Interactive Inc to use MGM Interactive Inc motion picture brands "Rocky" and "Pink Panther"

A company spokesman said that despite the global macro economic environment, Playtech has delivered a strong first quarter, and 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. Despite the challenging economic environment, the board remains comfortable with market expectations for the full year," the spokesman said.

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