Prospects for 2010 better for UC Group

Company spent $1.48 million on US political lobbying

The UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph reports that pre-tax profits at UC Group fell to GBP 218 221 in 2008, down from GBP 2.42 million a year earlier following a 30 percent fall in revenues. But prospects for 2010 are looking a little more promising.

UC Group specialises in providing gaming companies with online payment services such as anti-money laundering measures and the group's profits were skewed last year by its decision to pull out of business outside of that core market, as well as sizeable asset write-backs in 2007, the newspaper reports.

The company has been active in US political lobbying on behalf of the online gambling industry, and according to US government records spent $1.48 million in 2009 promoting a liberalisation of gambling legislation.

UC Group acts for 10 gaming companies, offering back-office and anti-money laundering operations and hopes to profit from any opening of the US market. The group has worked to promote Senator Barney Frank's efforts to overturn the ban on online gaming in the US.

"The USA remains core to our ambitions and every effort is being made to harness the potential commercial opportunity this will present," CEO Kobus Paulsen said recently.

Former Labour government minister David Blunkett joined the company in January 2009 and UC Group will hope his influence will help boost its financial performance, the newspaper observes.

UC's chief executive said in a recent note to shareholders in the company's annual report that core profits had risen 39 percent on the back of a 24 percent increase in the number of transactions processed. He forecast the same rate of growth in 2009 and said the company was in discussion about "various acquisitions".

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