The Asian-facing online and land betting group AsianLogic plc is battening down the hatches to prepare for the global economic slowdown, according to a trading report published this week. The report moves away from earlier and more positive forecasts to advise that it will not meet 2008 market forecasts and expects 2008 full year pre-tax profits to be only marginally higher than the $7.05 million (before tax and adjustment for share-based awards), achieved at the 30 June 2008 interim stage and reported on 30 September 2008. On this basis, the 2008 results will be significantly below current market expectations.
Whilst the board of directors maintains a positive outlook in the long term, the statement says it is aware that the Asian-Pacific gaming marketplace, the company's principal operational arena, is not immune from the now widely predicted global economic slowdown. The company has reacted to this by instigating the closure of certain [unidentified] wholesale betting operations. "This risk management initiative, while prudent and in the medium to long term interests of the company, will have a material impact on the Company's trading in 2008," the statement advises.
Coupled with this decline in wholesale betting, a number of land-based gaming initiatives which were due to be launched in 2008 have been purposefully delayed until 2009 to ensure that the maximum commercial benefit is achieved from 2009 onwards, the company reveals.
Acquisitions and corporate finance activities proved more difficult than expected in 2008 due to general extremely poor investment market conditions but the AsianLogic board sees significant opportunities in 2009, both directly for the company and its investment fund which is now due to launch in the first quarter of 2009. Income from China-facing operations is expected to commence in early 2009.
The board assures investors that it believes that the 2008 shortfall is one-off in nature and does not reflect the long term development potential of the company which continues to be profitable, highly cash generative and enjoys a strong balance sheet with no borrowings. The board reiterates its confidence that the medium to long term ability of the business to develop significant returns for shareholders is unchanged.
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