888 Holdings released its trading update for the fourth quarter of 2009 and cumulative results for the twelve months ended 31 December 2009 this week, featuring the following highlights:
* Total Operating Income up at US$68 million (Q4 2008: US$60 million) - a 14 percent increase
compared to Q4 2008 and a 12 percent increase compared to Q3 2009.
* Total Operating Income B2B (Dragonfish) at US$14 million (Q4 2008: US$11 million), an increase
of 36 percent on Q4 2008 and a 13 percent increase compared to Q3 2009
* Total Operating Income B2C at US$54 million (Q4 2008: US$49 million) - a 9 percent increase
compared to Q4 2008 and an 11 percent increase compared to Q3 2009
* Total Operating Income B2C Emerging Offering at US$7 million (Q4 2008: US$5
million), increase of 52 percent compared to Q4 2008 and a 15 percent increase compared to Q3 2009
* Total Operating Income B2C Casino at US$33 million (Q4 2008: US$30 million), 13 percent
increase compared to Q4 2008 and a 14 percent increase compared to Q3 2009
* Total Operating Income B2C Poker at US$13 million (Q4 2008: US$15 million), 11 percent
decrease compared to Q4 2008 and a 3 percent increase compared to Q3 2009
* Acquisition of Wink Bingo completed on 31 December 2009 and already contributing
to revenue and profit
* Pioneering GBP 8 888 888 Pirates Millionaire free spin slot machine launched together
with prominent UK TV campaign
* New GBP 5 000 000 Pot of Gold Bingo promotion launched together with prominent UK
* Dragonfish signed a major e-Payments processing agreement with Linden Lab in
November, extending its offering beyond online gaming
* As at 31 December 2009, 888 had 7.1 million Casino, Poker and Sport real money
registered customer accounts, representing an increase of 24 percent since 31 December 2008
* Number of active customers B2C Casino and Poker at 173 000, an increase of 2 percent
compared to Q3 2009
* Number of active customers B2C Casino at 68 000, a 9 percent increase compared to Q3
* Number of active customers B2C Poker at 132 000, a decrease of 1 percent compared to
B2B operations through Dragonfish performed strongly with total Operating Income B2B at US$14 million (Q4 2008: US$11 million), an increase of 36 percent on Q4 2008 and a 13 percent increase compared to Q3 2009.
888 also reported on the 12 months ended December 31st:
The group recorded total operating income of US$247 million (2008: US$263 million), a decrease of 6 percent. Total Operating Income B2C at US$195 million (2008: US$224 million), a decrease of 13 percent.
Total Operating Income B2C Casino was down at US$119 million (2008: US$137 million), a decrease of 13 percent, mainly as a result of adverse exchange rate movement
Total Operating Income B2C Poker was also in decline at US$52 million (2008: US$74 million), sliding 30 percent as a result of a combination of adverse exchange rate movement and challenging poker trading conditions
Total Operating Income B2C Emerging Offering at US$25 million (2008: US$14 million), an increase of 82 percent.
Over the 12 months b2b operations at Dragonfish saved the day, posting Total Operating Income of US$51 million (2008: US$39 million), a 33 percent increase.
Management reported on current trading conditions, revealing that he first quarter of 2010 has started well. During the first five weeks of the year group average daily Total Operating Income was more than 7 percent higher than it was in Q4.
New customer recruitment across the group showed a strong increase of more than 52 percent, and growth was driven by B2C, especially Casino and 888Ladies, with more than 18 percent increase in average daily Total Operating Income compared to Q4 (4 percent excluding the impact of the Wink Bingo acquisition).
In January 888 initiated a major re-branding exercise to streamline the 888 brand focus and re-brand core products as being distinct, but complementary, parts of the wider 888.com brand. With a reinvigorated look and feel and unified logos, the sub-brands all speak with one language and link into one offer, management claims. The new sites, built on the new Content Management System, were launched as 888casino, 888poker, 888bingo and 888sport.
Interactive video content was introduced for the first time at 888Sport for football, horse racing & tennis, promoting daily popular sport events.
Bingo platform enhancement includes 17 new Quickplay 'instant' games including X-Factor and 5 new bingo jackpots.
The Poker offering was taken a step forward with the introduction of a multi-lingual software client and optimised tournament structure.
Casino benefited from 6 new games, upgraded No Download and 3D Scratch card arena. Webmoney, a local popular eWallet payment method in Eastern Europe was expanded by a further six additional countries to 12.
In November, Dragonfish signed a major e-Payments processing agreement with Linden Lab, the world's leading virtual world technology company and creator of Second Life, for the first time diversifying its business beyond the gaming industry.
In addition 888 has recently signed an agreement with Lex Online Entertainment, a wholly owned subsidiary of Centric Multimedia for the provision of online casino and poker software and back office technology, fraud and risk management, e-payments processing systems and customer support in three languages. The offering is aimed at territories in the South Eastern European market, a market that has significant potential for online gaming.
During the fourth quarter, Kamay Holdings Ltd., owner of online poker and casino sites LuckyAcePoker, LuckyAce Casino and SuproCasino, selected Dragonfish as its bingo partner to launch Silk Bingo. SilkBingo will join the Dragonfish bingo network, which contains more than 60 bingo brands.
The 888 group's financial position remains strong with approximately US$98 million cash equivalents (of which approximately US$38 million represent liabilities to customers) and no debt leaving the group in a sound position to exploit further M&A opportunities when they become available.
Gigi Levy, Chief Executive Officer, said: "We are pleased that the fourth quarter saw a return to stronger trading, with 14 percent top-line growth compared to 2008 and 12 percent quarter on quarter. Overall, trading during the quarter was strong across the business. Dragonfish continues its impressive growth, and in B2C Casino and Emerging Offering were particularly strong, with poker also returning to growth quarter on quarter.
"Our positive momentum continues into 2010 and, supported by the successful Wink acquisition and our various business initiatives, we expect to grow the business further during the current year."
888's final results for the year ended 31 December 2010 will be issued on Tuesday 23 March 2010.
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