Strong first half results for Playtech

Performance enhanced by launch of new networks and recent licensee wins, and a move to the main list anticipated.

Online gambling software provider Playtech plc has announced strong first half 2010 results for the six months ended 30 June 2010.

Financial highlights include:

* Gross income* up 31 percent to Euro 87.9 million (2009: Euro 66.9 million)

* Adjusted EBITDA increased by 20 percent to Euro 54.2 million (2009: Euro 45.3 million) reflecting margin of 62 percent on gross income (2009: 68 percent)

* Total revenues up by 29 percent to Euro 72.9 million (2009: Euro 56.7 million)

* Net profit after tax of Euro 37.0 million (2009: Euro 32.5 million) an increase of 14 percent

* Cash generated from operating activities and sums received from William Hill totalled Euro 60.8 million (2009: Euro 37.4 million)

Operational achievements included:

* Strategic partnerships with Scientific Games and Sportech (see previous InfoPowa reports) position Playtech for opportunities in newly regulating markets, including the US

* H1 launches of Italian bingo and French poker networks, increasing presence in key new regulated markets, along with the launch of Olympic Casino

* Major licensees on target to launch in H2 include Betfair flash casino (Q3), RAY in Finland (Q4); and in Q1 2011, Casino Gran Madrid.

* Acquisition of Virtue Fusion in February 2010 positions Playtech as a major b2b bingo network provider, with a pipeline of new licensee prospects in the UK and internationally

* Videobet achieves critical mass through partnership with Global Draw and new agreement with Ladbrokes for 7,600 machines

Corporate initiatives:

* Two new experienced non-executives appointed to the board of directors, and UK Corporate Governance Code compliant in terms of composition and independence introduced.

* Search for a new chief financial officer is at an advanced stage

* Preliminary preparations made for a move to London main stock exchange list.

Current trading:

Management reports that gross royalties are up 4 percent in August, with online casino contribution up over 5 percent and both poker and bingo in positive territory. As a result Playtech’s daily activity metrics have improved on those quoted in its Q2 KPI announcement.

“Daily activity for the first 55 days of Q3/10 is more than 12 percent ahead of Q3/09 on an absolute basis and more than 30 percent ahead of Q3/09 on a like for like basis excluding France,” management reported.

“Activity declined by 6 percent compared to Q2/10 on the same like for like basis reflecting the combined impact of the closing stages of the football World Cup and normal seasonal slowdown. On an absolute basis, including France, Q3/10 is 16 percent below the daily average of the previous quarter.

“With Betfair set to provide incremental casino revenues, the football season beginning and the holiday season drawing to a close, we expect to benefit from a further pickup in activity,” the report concludes.

Roger Withers, Non-executive Chairman, said: "We have enjoyed a strong trading performance in the first half. Regulatory change across Europe is transforming the market dynamics and opens up many new opportunities.

“Although the restrictions of the newly regulated French market will, as anticipated, impact revenues in the second half, we have a strong pipeline of new licensees which we expect to more than offset this in 2011 and help maintain our growth trajectory.”

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