Friday August 31,2012 : TAXES, SHARE BUY-BACKS IMPACT BWIN.PARTY HALF YEARLY RESULTS
 
Management has plans for a resurgent online poker operation
 
The European online gambling group Bwin.Party digital entertainment has released its H1-2012 results to June 30 2012, reporting solid growth in clean EBITDA as synergies generated by the Bwin-Party Gaming merger offset increased gaming taxes and other expenses.
 
The company highlighted the following in its report:
 
* Pro forma total revenue up 3 percent to Euro 410 million with growth in online casino, games and sports partially offset by a decline in poker.
 
* Actual total revenue up 50 percent to Euro 410 million
 
* Pro forma clean EBITDA from continuing operations up 13 percent to Euro 92.3 million due to revenue growth and synergies, partly offset by increased gaming duties from European regulated markets.
 
*Actual clean EBITDA from continuing operations up 81 percent to Euro 92.3 million.
 
* Clean EPS from continuing operations up 23 percent on a pro forma basis to 9.2 cents per share (2011: 7.5 cents per share)
 
* Strong cash generation used to fund increased taxes, mergers and acquisitions and cash returns to shareholders
 
* Euro 100 million in dividends and buybacks returned to shareholders in the twelve months to 30 June 2012
 
* Social games unit established with substantial dedicated development team
 
* Half year dividend increased by 10 percent to 1.72 pence per share (2011: 1.56 pence)
 
* Net gaming revenue down 8 percent versus Q2 -2011
 
Bwin.Party's report on actual numbers achieved reveals that revenues were generated thus over the half year:
 
* Sports betting Euro 128.1 million (H1-2011 Euro 59.9 million)
* Casino and Games Euro 139.7 million (H1-2011 Euro 99.1 million)
* Poker Euro 96.4 million (H1-2011 Euro 79.8 million)
* Bingo Euro 31.5 million (H1-2011 Euro 27.8 million)
* Total revenues Euro 410 million (H1-2011 Euro 273.1 million
* Total clean EBITDA Euro 85.6 million (H1-2011 Euro 45.8 million
* After tax loss -Euro 21.3 million (H1-2011 -Euro 49.1 million.
 
Joint CEOs Jim Ryan and Norbert Teufelberger said:
 
“Our focus during the first half of 2012 was to continue to execute our integration plan in order to deliver the synergies committed to as part of the merger, secure meaningful market positions in newly regulated markets and improve our core operations.
 
"With a shifting regulatory landscape and a challenging economic backdrop in several European markets, we have delivered on all three objectives as well as grown revenue and clean EBITDA, a testament to the strength of our business model.
 
"The business remains highly cash generative and in the past 12 months we have returned Euro 100 million to shareholders through share buy-backs and dividends.
 
“The fundamentals of our two largest product verticals, sports betting and casino, remain strong and we remain excited by their prospects as we develop our mobile offering in conjunction with our expansion into a number of regulated markets.
 
“Our UK bingo business has returned to revenue growth and we have stabilised the position in Italy where we remain the clear leader in terms of market share.  In Spain, our new Binguez brand has started well and has secured a top three position in this newly regulated market.
 
“Poker is a key area of focus and we are determined to return it to growth through execution of a detailed plan that includes pooling our poker liquidity as well as repositioning our flagship PartyPoker brand. We expect both initiatives to have a positive impact on our performance, along with our recently launched FastForward Poker product.
 
“During the first half we launched into Denmark where we have a strategic alliance with Danske Spil, the market leader, and also into Spain where we have established a top three position for each of our products.
 
"Having secured a sports betting licence in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, the regulatory backdrop in Germany, our largest market in terms of revenue, remains fluid. While we continue to believe that the proposed regime put forward by the other 15 Länder fails to meet the tests set by the European Commission and the Court of Justice of the European Union, we are engaging with the German authorities to develop and secure a long-term solution for all stakeholders.”
 
Management reported that current trading in the eight week period ended 25 August 2012 showed that average gross daily revenue was down 11 percent and average net daily revenue was down 8 percent versus the second quarter of 2012.
 
“The Board will consider making further share re-purchases, subject to prevailing market conditions, other investment opportunities, appropriate gearing levels and the overall financial position of the company," the report notes.