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FIRST HALF BETBULL TURNAROUND
Betbull plc, an online and retail sportsbetting group that includes PrimeBet.com announced the release its group consolidated unaudited financial statements for the half year to 30 June 2008 this week, showing an impressive turnaround in its business fortunes.
Financial highlights for the period included:
* Betting stakes of Euro 50.9 million for the half year, up 28 percent compared to Euro 39.9 million in H1 2007.
* Net gaming revenue of Euro 8.4 million for the half year, up by 25 percent compared to Euro 6.7 million in H1 2007.
* EBITDA of Euro 800 000 for the half year, up Euro 500 000 compared to Euro 300 000 in H1 2007.
* Cash position as at 30 June 2008 positive at Euro 9.5 million compared to Euro 8.8 million as at 30 June 2007.
* EBITDA excluding the joint venture in Madrid of Euro 1.3 million for the half year and cash position as at 30 June 2008 also excluding the joint venture in Madrid of Euro 7.4 million.
Business highlights over the half year included:
* In Germany the company achieved growth in turnover and profits. Betting stakes were up 28 percent on the same period last year and 30 percent up on the previous quarter. Gross hold rose by 30 percent against the same period last year and 18 percent against the previous quarter. Management comment that these gains have been realised despite a still confused legislative position and therefore difficult trading environment. The company continues to pursue a policy of cautious expansion, whilst maintaining a strong presence ready to take advantage of any favourable legislative changes in the future.
* In Spain, the joint venture with Bwin (Betbull Bwin Espana or BBE) is now fully established, with offices in Madrid's Grand Via employing 11 central office staff and management. The process of technology homologation has been successfully completed and all other required documentation including the provision of a Euro 12 million bank guarantee to the Community of Madrid, has been submitted to relevant authorities. It is therefore expected that final approval and delivery of the licence will take place in September 2008, when government offices return to work after summer recess.
BBE has identified a number of key locations for its first betting shops and will close property deals on those locations as soon as the licence is awarded. The JV has a well defined and focused strategy for roll out of retail units throughout the Province and it is hoped that the first bets will be accepted before the of the year.
Other autonomous communities within Spain have indicated that they will follow Madrid in awarding betting licences and Betbull intends to pursue development in those regions as soon as the legislation is announced. Spain continues to be the main focus of development for the company and will offer a clear and stable licensed environment in which Betbull can apply already proven retail techniques.
* In Italy, Betbull decided to sell its 4 licences, awarded in 2007, and sale proceeds amounted to Euro 600 000 delivering a small profit after costs. The decision to sell was taken primarily as a result of the company's policy to focus on core areas, but also because opportunities for future development would have been restricted due to legislative and operational barriers.
* Online operations will see planned upgrades to the online platform, which provides a valuable complimentary offer to retail clients and absorbs very little in resources.
Releasing the half yearly report, Betbull director Simon Bold said: "I am pleased to announce a positive net result for the half year, with earnings before tax amounting to Euro 500 000, a turnaround on the same period last year of Euro 700 000. In view of the investment Betbull has made in the Madrid JV with bwin, this is a pleasing result and demonstrates that we are operating a policy of strong financial control.
"Betbull is continuing to cautiously fulfil its targets in a solid and steady manner, maintaining position as a leading player in Germany at the same time maximising revenues from those operations. We are investing in the most exciting, fully licensed retail opportunity in central Europe, together with our partner bwin building a valuable company, poised to become a leading brand in Spanish retail betting.
"We have managed our funds wisely, maintaining a healthy overall cash position of Euro 9.5 million at the end of H1 2008."
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