Friday May 18, 2012 :  2012 GOING WELL FOR IRISH ONLINE GAMBLING OPERATOR
 
Paddy Power chairman delivers good news to investors at Thursday's agm
 
Nigel Northridge, chairman of the land and online betting group Paddy Power plc gave investors plenty of good news at the company's agm Thursday, presenting an interim management statement for the period January to mid-May 2012 that showed net revenues up by 28 percent so far, and more investment planned for further expansion in a successful business.
 
"In 2011, the Group achieved record turnover of Euro 4.6 billion and operating profit of Euro 120 million," Northridge revealed. "Net revenue increased by 17 percent and earnings per share grew by 26 percent. The Board's proposed final dividend will deliver a total 2011 dividend of 100 cents per share, an increase of 33 percent.
 
"The scale of the Group also increased significantly with strong growth in our existing markets, particularly in online and mobile betting, and further international expansion progressed in Canada, Italy and Bulgaria."
 
Northridge said that Paddy Power's 2011 momentum has continued into 2012, supported by substantial ongoing investment.  Group net revenue is up 28 percent in the year to date, driven by 31 percent growth in online revenue and 26 percent growth in retail revenue.
 
Sports results have been favourable, with the Group's sportsbook gross win percentage above the equivalent period last year and management expectations.
 
Online operations in both Australia and Europe delivered particularly good results, with net revenue up by 37 percent in Australia and by 28 percent in Europe, driven by continued strong growth in online active customers of 40 percent, comprising a 30 percent increase in Australia and 41 percent growth in Paddypower.com.
 
"The strengths of both businesses are being complemented by leading positions in mobile betting," said Northridge, noting an impressive surge of 241 percent in revenue in that group operation.  In April, mobile turnover accounted for 23 percent of total online sportsbook stakes in Australia and 38 percent of total sportsbook stakes in Paddypower.com, he revealed.
 
Land gambling operations also flourished, with UK Retail achieving robust growth, although Irish Retail amounts staked fell by a further 4 percent, but revenue was up 15 percent, and 17 new shops joined the group.
 
"Given the current strong momentum and position of Paddy Power, and the substantial opportunities that exist in online betting, the Group is now investing at an increased rate for further expansion," Northridge reported.
 
"Our organic entry into the Italian online market went ‘live' on schedule this week.  We are also increasing the resources assigned to mobile gaming and other business development opportunities."    
 
Paddy Power Group has significant financial flexibility, with net cash at 15 May of Euro 202 million, or Euro 149 million excluding customer balances.