Thursday August 30,2012 : STRONG GROWTH CONTINUED IN PLAYTECHS H1-2012
William Hill Online joint venture turns in its best performance yet
Online gambling software developer and turnkey provider Playtech plc celebrated a strong set of half yearly 2012 results Thursday, announcing highlights of the period ended June 30 that include:
* Gross income up by 86 percent to Euro 176.5 million (H1/2011: Euro 95 million)
* Total revenues up by 101 percent to Euro 153.8 million (H1/2011: Euro 76.3 million)
* Playtech’s casino product has continued to grow strongly, delivering Euro 71.5 million of revenues (H1/2011: Euro 52.7 million), up 36 percent.
* Adjusted EBITDA up 64 percent to Euro 91.2 million (H1/2011: Euro 55.8 million)
* Adjusted net profit up 67 percent to Euro 84.5 million (H1/2011: Euro 50.7 million)
* Post tax profits of Euro 26.2 million (H1/2011: Euro 37.9 million)
* Adjusted EPS for the six month period rose 40 percent to 29.2 cents (H1/2011: 20.9 cents)
* Interim dividend of 7.8 cents per share (H1/2011: nil)
* Continued high cash conversion of 88 percent from adjusted EBITDA (H1/2011: 81 percent).
* Cash balances at 30 June 2012 of Euro 139.3 million (H1/2011: Euro 64.3 million)
Operational highlights included:
* Playtech completed its move to a premium listing on the main market of the London Stock Exchange
* Outperformance by PTTS, meeting the criteria for an accelerated payment of the contingent consideration of Euro 140 million
* Significant joint ventures in anticipation of regulatory changes agreed with both Gauselmann, the owner of Germany's leading gaming brand, Merkur, and Peermont, a leading South African gaming operator
* Playtech acquired software developer Geneity in January to enhance the group’s sportsbook capabilities.
* Playtech licensees launched in the newly regulated Spanish market, with further licensees looking to launch in September
* Gala Coral progressing well, with the successful launch of Gala Casino and Gala Bingo sites
* Penetration into Mexico through the signing of a software licensing agreement with Grupo Caliente, the largest local land-based gaming operator
* Mobenga performing ahead of expectations with additional licensees launched
* Paddy Power launched nine casino games in an integrated mobile solution
On current trading and outlook, Management reported that the company has made a strong start to Q3-2012, a traditionally quieter period. Daily average revenues are up over 25 percent versus the comparable period and up over 20 percent on a like-for-like basis, in line with Q2-2012.
The company statement said that its directors look forward to the full year outcome with confidence, but are mindful of the impact of the regulatory changes in the Spanish market and the increased costs associated with various software development initiatives, including mobile and social gaming.
Roger Withers, non-executive chairman, said:
“Playtech’s multi-channel approach strengthens its market leading position, allowing it to maximise the potential for growth in newly-regulating markets in addition to enhancing existing relationships with traditional operators.
"In the first half of the year we recognised the growing importance of the social gaming sector and positioned ourselves to penetrate the market through innovative software licensing arrangements.
“Despite the uncertainty surrounding the future of European and US regulation, the company is ideally positioned to take advantage of changes in the online gaming market through further expansion of its joint ventures and organic growth strategy."
Withers added that the group continued to perform strongly with gross income growth of 86 percent to Euro 176.5 million and organic growth of 22.3 percent in the six months ending 30 June 2012.
"The Group’s strategy, supported by its strong balance sheet, now centres on developing its highly complementary business channels: products and services, turnkey solutions, joint ventures and social gaming. Through this multi-channel approach, the Board believes the group will be in a position to maximise the potential for growth in newly-regulating markets in addition to strengthening existing relationships with traditional operators."
The company's report refers to the appointment of David McLeish, formerly a partner at Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP, as General Counsel, noting that the environment in which Playtech operates has become increasingly complex in a regulatory and legal sense.
It also notes the forthcoming retirement before the end of the current financial year of CFO David Mathewson, who will be replaced in the position and on the Board by Ron Hoffman, an eight year veteran in the finance division of the company.
Playtech remains cash-flush with Euro 139.3 million as at June 30 2012, and investors will be pleased with the announcement that an interim dividend of 7.8c per share (H1/2011: nil) payable on 19 October 2012 has been approved.
Chief executive officer Mor Weizer pointed out that the William Hill Online joint venture continues to deliver a good performance – the strongest yet in the current period – and that executives of the two companies continued to communicate closely on the future of the business
"William Hill Online recently reported the strongest interim performance of [the joint venture] since [its] creation, with the first quarter producing Euro 3.4 million more in share of profit for Playtech than in any previous quarter," Weizer noted.
"WHO has achieved double digit growth with an increase in operating profit (before exceptional items) of GBP 68.9 million, growing 23 percent (H1/2011: GBP 55.9 million). Playtech’s non-controlling interest resulted in a share of profit of Euro 22.7 million before amortisation of intangibles (H1/2011: Euro 18.7 million), up 21 percent for the period."
Weizer touched on the future of the venture, observing:
"In the fourth quarter, William Hill will have the opportunity to commence a process to acquire Playtech’s 29 percent stake in William Hill Online through the first of two contractual call options. We continue to engage in constructive and amicable meetings with the board and management of William Hill to discuss the future of our relationship with them."
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