Chairman addresses AGM
Addressing the company's annual general meeting in London today (Thursday), Playtech plc chairman, Roger Withers, said he was delighted to report another year of growth and progress by the company.
"In 2009 the company saw gross income rise by 23 percent to Euro 137.3 million and revenues by 3 percent to Euro 114.8 million," Withers revealed, commenting that the strong growth drivers behind Playtech's business has helped deliver a 25 percent increase in adjusted EBITDA to Euro 93.7 million, including the group's share of profit before amortization from William Hill Online.
Given this strong financial performance, the Board has recommended a final dividend payment of 9.4 cents, giving investors a total dividend for the year of 18.3 Euro cents per share, he added.
Withers said that Playtech believes the future of online gaming lies in regulated markets and has positioned itself accordingly.
"Many of our new licensees operate in regulated markets where we believe significant long term growth opportunities exist for the group," the chairman said. "Furthermore the increasing perception of online gaming as a mainstream entertainment format looks set to open new geographical and strategic markets.
"As Governments explore expanded gaming opportunities it is the incumbent lottery operator which is in a strong position to benefit from any new regulation, or may even be the sole provider permitted under such regulations. We see excellent prospects for working with government monopolies and lottery providers as their markets open up for online gaming," he said, adding that through Sciplay, Playtech's exclusive joint venture with Scientific Gaming, the company believes it will be able to capitalise on some of the most exciting opportunities in this segment.
Withers also addressed the industry trend to consolidation, commenting: "We have played an active part in the industry's consolidation, acquiring the games platform developer Gaming Technology Solutions Limited ('GTS') in December 2009 and the leading Bingo network provider, Virtue Fusion after the year end in February 2010. Through these deals Playtech has enhanced its position as the world's leading B2B provider in online gaming.
"With an established reputation, a long track record of success and key strategic partnerships, Playtech is well placed to take advantage of these opportunities. A focus on development and innovation enables our product suite to continually evolve, offering cutting-edge gaming solutions to both existing and new operators."
The chairman went on to thank the company's employees and managemenfor their determination and dynamism throughout 2009, which marked the company's tenth year in the business.
Turning to current trading, Withers said that performance has continued to improve through the first quarter, with positive player activity throughout the first six weeks of the second quarter.
"While the new regulations in France will affect certain of our licensees and reduce activity in the second half, the company has positioned itself to capitalise on the new opportunities to grow revenues both here and in other markets, as has been evidenced by the announcement last week of the contract for the Finnish state operator,
RAY," he concluded.