Mobile gambling was one of the top performers in Unibet's latest fourth quarter results as the number of players using this channel soared by 136 percent to 5 372 (Q3 2 281), chief executive Petter Nylander reported this week.
“We really saw a breakthrough during the second half of 2009 after we re-launched our iPhone version during Q3 this year. The customers enjoyed it and used it at numbers we can speak about. We think the mobile channel for ourselves and the industry will become a channel with some prominence for the future,” said Nylander, attributing the success to the growing market penetraion of smart phones. Unibet's mobile service is powered by the Swedish Mobenga technology provider.
Other achievements reported by the company included all time highs in active customers and sportsbook gross winnings revenue and:
* Gross Winnings Revenue amounted to GBP 42.1 (34.9) million for the fourth quarter of 2009 and GBP 138.3 (123.4) million for the full year 2009.
* Profit from operations amounted to GBP 11.0 (12.8) million for the fourth quarter of 2009 and GBP 32.8 (36.5) million for the full year 2009.
* Result before tax for the fourth quarter of 2009 amounted to GBP 8.7 (-0.3) million. Profit before tax for full year 2009 amounted to GBP 28.9 (11.1) million.
* Result after tax for the fourth quarter of 2009 amounted to GBP 8.4 (-0.9) million. Profit after tax for the full year 2009 amounted to GBP 26.8 (8.8) million.
* Operating cash flow before movements in working capital amounted to GBP 13.3 (15.3) million for the fourth quarter 2009 and GBP 42.7 (46.8) million for the full year 2009.
* Number of active customers at the end of the quarter was 365 865 (292 168).
The Board of Directors proposed a dividend of GBP 0.71 (0.23) per share/SDR, which amounts to a proposed distribution to shareholders of GBP 20.0 (6.4) million.
Full-year EBITDA fell 10 percent year-on-year to GBP 41.9 million, from GBP 46.3 million in 2008, which the company said showed the “in vestment in marketing ahead of the sporting year coming up.”
Looking forward, Nylander said that the first six weeks of 2010 had seen good growth in the business with live betting as an important driving force.
“Another important step for Unibet has been the decision to participate in the global sportsbook B2B market and offer our proprietary Sportsbook and risk management services to external customers," said Nylander, describing the sector as a large opportunity market.
“During the fourth quarter we made an early redemption of the Euro bond and expect to save between Euros 4 and 5 million in finance costs during the facility’s duration compared to holding the bond to mat
urity. This saving includes early redemption costs of GBP 1.2 million that has been charged to the consolidated income statement in the fourth quarter of 2009,” Nylander revealed.
The company hopes to prosper from the opening of the French market during 2010, given its strong positioning and the comparatively underdeveloped nature of the remote gaming portion of the overall
gambling market, which Nylander felt currently represented around 5 percent of the overall action when compared to Scandinavia and the UK, “...where we think the online side of the overall gambling marke
t is maybe 25 to 30 percent.”
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