Tuesday May 7,2013 : BETFAIR FULL YEAR 2013 RESULTS POSTED
 
New CEO says business has gone through a significant period of change
 
The UK online gambling group Betfair plc, which is currently fighting off an acquisition attempt by a private equity partnership  has posted an unaudited trading update following the end of its financial year on 30 April 2013.
 
Highlights of the report and a trading update include:
 
* Estimated results above the top end of Betfair's guidance range: FY13 estimated revenue of c.GBP 387 million.
 
* FY13 estimated underlying EBITDA of c.GBP 73 million
 
* Cash balance at 30 April 2013 of GBP 168 million (2012: GBP 118 million)
 
* Good progress made on the new strategic plan, with cost savings increased to c.GBP 30 million (from GBP 20 million) and full benefit now expected in FY14.
 
* Employee numbers reduced by c.500 following restructuring.
 
* Record UK customer acquisition (up 108 percent year-on-year) since sportsbook launch
 
* Evidence of improved player acquisition efficiency (Q4 cost per acquisition down 20 percent)
 
* 74 percent year-on-year increase in games cross-sell since sportsbook launch
 
* UK customer base up 18 percent year-on-year in the last 6 months
 
* 75 percent of Q4 revenue generated in sustainable jurisdictions (Q4 FY12: 66 percent)
 
* Recent customer acquisition and retention performance indicates that improved product and marketing strategies are working
 
* Plans to re-invest c.GBP 10 million of the cost savings in further product and marketing investment
 
* Evidence that the exchange and sportsbook operations are complementary: 24 percent of football customers are already using both products
 
* Acquisition of Blue Square helps achieve scale
 
Betfair's recently appointed CEO, Breon Corcoran, says:
 
“We have achieved much in the five months since we set out our strategy in December.
 
“The business has gone through significant change. A new management team is in place and a wide ranging restructuring has been completed ahead of schedule, allowing us to increase our cost savings substantially. At the same time, the pace of product delivery has accelerated, including the development and launch of a new sportsbook within three months.
 
“The strategy is working. We have had early success and shown that the combination of the exchange and sportsbook can deliver a sustainable competitive advantage. In the last couple of months, our sportsbook-led acquisition focus has resulted in improved marketing efficiency and a two fold increase in the number of UK customer activations. We are confident this will enable us to accelerate revenue growth in our most important market and I believe we can grow in-line with the market in the medium term.
 
“While we are rightly focusing on regulated jurisdictions, primarily the UK and Ireland, I firmly believe there is a significant international opportunity. We have recently seen positive regulatory momentum in Italy, Spain and the USA. In addition, revenue from the countries where we have ceased marketing is proving relatively resilient due to the uniqueness of our exchange.
 
“We intend to use our strong balance sheet to pursue a strategy of targeted acquisitions to add further domestic scale, achieve geographical expansion and close product gaps.
 
“This is just the beginning, however. In a few short months we have made considerable progress and demonstrated the opportunity that Betfair has ahead of it. I firmly believe that Betfair’s unique technology, customer value proposition, UK scale and strong balance sheet mean it is well placed to compete in an industry facing substantial changes. I am delighted to be leading the business at this exciting time.”
 
Giving a trading update, Management advised that Group revenue was approximately GBP 387 million (FY12: GBP 388 million), ahead of its earlier guidance notes, driven by stronger than expected UK sportsbook revenues, particularly via the mobile channel, and revenue resilience in countries where the company has ceased marketing.
 
Group underlying EBITDA was also higher than guidance at approximately GBP 73 million (FY12: GBP 86 million), driven primarily by better revenue performance.
 
Management expects costs savings to total approximately GBP 30 million, with the full impact now expected to benefit the current financial year (ending 30 April 2014).
 
Extensive restructuring has resulted in the shedding of around 500 jobs, which is expected to reduce costs by approximately GBP 23 million. A further GBP 7 million should flow from reducing spend with suppliers, such as the consolidation of office space.
The company plans to spend less on public affairs and legal resources in some jurisdictions due to its new geographical focus.
 
Management provided a summary of its current strategic plan, advising:
 
* Focus on investment on regulated jurisdictions to increase sustainability of revenues and reduce the regulatory risk
 
* Investment in product and brand to enhance Betfair's competitive position and drive growth
 
* Introduction of greater accountability and becoming a leaner and more dynamic business
 
* Looking to accelerate growth through international opportunities and balance sheet flexibility.