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888 Numbers Good For 4th Quarter
888 Holdings plc released an interim management statement this week, again showcasing impressive full year numbers in which the company can take pride, but rather more depressed Q4 results.
* Total Operating Income for the 12 months ended 31 December 2008 US$263 million (2007: US$217 million) up 21 percent
* Net Gaming Revenue for the 12 months ended 31 December 2008 from Emerging Offering US$45 million (2007: US$14 million) up 209 percent
* Net Gaming Revenue from Online Casino operations for the 12 months ended 31 December 2008 US$134 million (2007: US$118 million) up 13 percent
* Net Gaming Revenue from Online Poker operations for the 12 months ended 31 December 2008 US$76 million (2007: US$81 million) a decline of 6 percent
* 24 percent increase in real money registered accounts to 5.8 million as at 31 December 2008
* Promising B2B pipeline with one white label deal already signed in January focusing on continental Europe
* Poker released in 11 new languages, 888sport launched in one additional language and integration of PayPal to 888's already wide choice of payment methods
* Third party games integration continues and reached a total of 22 integrated games
Q4 2008 KPIs were less satisfactory, reflecting the troubled economic times:
* Total Operating Income US$60 million (Q4 2007: US$65 million) a decline of 8 percent compared to Q4 2007, a result of adverse foreign exchange movement with the marked appreciation of the US$ compared to the Sterling and the Euro, challenging trading conditions and an uncertain recessionary economic environment
* Net Gaming Revenue from Casino US$29 million (Q4 2007: US$35 million) a decline of 19 percent compared to Q4 2007
* Net Gaming Revenue from Poker US$16 million (Q4 2007: US$21 million) a decline of 25 percent compared to Q4 2007
* Number of active customers in Casino and Poker 201 119 a decline of 4 percent compared to Q4 2007
* NGR per active group customer in Casino and Poker US$223 a decline of 18 percent compared to Q4 2007
* Number of active customers in Casino 72 762 a decline of 1 percent compared to Q4 2007
* NGR per active Casino customer US$395 a decline of 18 percent compared to Q4 2007
* Number of active customers in Poker 158 557 a decline of 7 percent compared to Q4 2007
* NGR per active Poker customer US$101 a decline of 19 percent compared to Q4 2007
* Net Gaming Revenue from Emerging Offering US$12 million (2007: US$6 million) up 100 percent
Trading in January 2009 has begun positively compared to December 2008, especially in Casino, Poker, Bingo and Live Dealer, 888.com management reports. Specifically, new customer recruitment increased more than 20 percent, Net Gaming Revenue by 10 percent and deposits by 4 percent in each case compared to December (which was the weakest month of the quarter).
Management advises that 888's B2B strategy is progressing well with one deal already signed in January focusing on continental Europe. Further B2B deals are being negotiated.
Poker was released in 11 new languages including Japanese, Greek, Russian and eastern European languages; 888sport was launched in one additional language; third party games integration continues and has now reached a total of 22 integrated games, and the popular PayPal payment method was integrated into 888's already wide choice of payment methods.
The group's financial position remains robust with approximately US$99 million cash equivalents (of which approximately US$33 million represent liabilities to customers) and no debt, leaving the group in an strong position to exploit M&A opportunities when they become available.
Gigi Levy, Chief Executive Officer, said: "888 demonstrated tremendous progress during 2008 with 21 percent Total Operating Income growth despite a disappointing Q4.
"The prolonged and deepening economic downturn and volatile adverse foreign exchange movements meant unprecedented challenging trading conditions following the end of the summer holiday season. Players played less and we recognised lower revenue denominated in US$ however this was partly mitigated by tighter cost control and cost savings given the group's high proportion of costs which are denominated in non US$ currencies. We are therefore confident that we will meet or exceed full year clean EBITDA market expectations.
"During the year we have continued the transformation of the group from a pure B2C-focused organisation to a world class B2B end to end gaming solution provider - a milestone of which was June's Sportech deal. Our pipeline for 2009 is promising and we expect to continue our progress across all business lines."
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