Monday July 1, 2013 :  ONLINE GAMBLING GROUP ISSUES TRADING UPDATE
 
"Excellent progress" made in Sportingbet integration
 
Online gambling group GVC Holdings plc issued a trading update Monday, reporting the early restoration of an increased quarterly dividend; progress with the integration of Sportingbet and its trading from the Sportingbet acquisition to 30 June 2013; along with a trading update of the other GVC brands for the period from 1 January 2013 to 30 June 2013.
 
Revenues from the all GVC brands, including Sportingbet, have performed well in the period, CEO Kenneth Alexander reported.
 
For Sportingbet, sports wagers increased by 12 percent and averaged Euro 2.4 million per day compared with Euro 2.1 million in the same period in 2012; Net Gaming Revenue per day increased by 8 percent and averaged Euro 265,000 compared with Euro 246,000 in the same period in 2012.
 
For GVC, sports wagers increased 9 percent to Euro 1.5 million per day (2012: Euro 1.4 million per day), and NGR increased by 17 percent to Euro 325,000 per day (2012: Euro 277,000 per day).
 
Management reports that it has been able to make material reductions in the inherited Sportingbet cost base. By the end of 2013, the inherited Sportingbet cost base should have reduced by close to 40 percent, GVC estimates.
 
The combination of cost-cutting, strong trading and tighter financial management, has meant that GVC is able to pay a dividend of 10.5 Euro cents per share to shareholders in August this year – an amount higher, and a calendar quarter earlier, than the Board of GVC anticipated.
 
Management commented on the integration of Sportingbet following its acquisition on March 19 this year . The acquisition did not include the Australian operations of the company, which were acquired by William Hill plc.
 
On completion of the acquisition the Board of GVC immediately implemented a strategic plan to restructure the Sportingbet business and return the business to profitability by 2014. The execution of the strategic plan is progressing better than expected, Management reports, and at a lower cost than internally forecast at the time of the acquisition.
 
GVC has completed a review of all areas of the business and has taken the following actions:
 
• Initiated the outsourcing of the IT infrastructure to lower-cost jurisdictions and stopped any unnecessary IT projects;
• Terminated all acquisition marketing and corporate sponsorships where the return on investment was assessed to be poor;
• Increased focus on customer retention and VIP management;
• Flattened the organisation structure and clarified P&L accountability;
• Implemented much tighter financial controls over expenditure; and
• Repaid GBP 25.6 million of bank facilities and GBP 10 million of overdue supplier payments as well as deal fees for both Sportingbet and GVC of around GBP 12 million.
 
The cost to implement the restructuring has been lower than anticipated and thus, once the restructuring is completed by the end of 2013, the Sportingbet business is expected to become profitable as a stand-alone and cash-generative business.
 
Consequently, the Sportingbet business which GVC acquired has shown improved trading under GVC management. Overall NGR was 8 percent higher than the comparable period in 2012 with sports wagers 12 percent higher, despite 2012 being flattered by the Euro 2012 finals.
 
GVC's CasinoClub revenues saw an increase of 10 percent to Euro 86,000 per day (H1-2012: Euro 78,000 per day), whilst revenues in Betboo, GVC's Latin American brand, rose by 25 percent to Euro 35,000 per day (H1-2012: Euro 28,000 per day).
 
The business-to-business division of GVC reports that in the 78 days from 1 January 2013 to 19 March 2013 the deferred consideration liability amounted to Euro 8.3 million, a 28 percent increase on the same period in 2012. Subsequent to 19 March 2013, the deferred consideration has been completely eliminated.
 
Total NGR for GVC in the period was Euro 325,000, and for Sportingbet Euro 265,000, with sports margins of 11.4 and 7.9 percent respectively.
 
Kenneth Alexander, CEO of GVC, says: "The restructuring of Sportingbet was a crucial challenge to GVC following the transformational deal of acquiring this business. I am delighted that as a result of our clear strategic plan and the hard work of our staff in implementing it, we have made excellent progress.
 
"The Board anticipates that the Sportingbet business should become profitable and cash generative by the end of Q4 2013. During this restructuring and cost cutting I am particularly pleased that we have today reported good trading over all parts of the Group and also that the financial performance of the Sportingbet business has improved under GVC management with both better trading and lower costs. As a result, the Board is cautiously optimistic about the outcome for 2013."