Posted 5/27/11 :

Australian and emerging markets producing good results
 
Sportingbet, a UK-listed online gambling group with Australian interests, released its third quarter financial results this week, showcasing positive revenues, particularly from Australian wagering.
 
Key performance indicators for the quarter included:
 
* Amounts wagered in Australia up 14 percent
 
* Like for like European sports Net Gaming Revenue up 12 percent
 
* Emerging Markets division continued to grow quickly, with NGR up 148 percent
 
* Mobile phone active players climbed 44 percent during the quarter
 
* In-play revenue growth of 14 percent, and now comprises 59 percent of European sports revenue (2009/10: 57 percent)
 
* EBITDA up at GBP16.1 million, in line with budget and ahead of last year’s GBP14.9 million.
 
Group chief executive, Andrew McIver, reported:
 
“We have continued to see strong growth from those economies that have been less impacted by the current recession, in particular Australia and our Emerging Markets division.
 
"However parts of Europe have been more fragile, particularly the Greek market.  Having said that, this situation once again reinforces the argument for a geographically diverse portfolio. It is very pleasing to report EBITDA of GBP16.1 million, in line with budget and ahead of last year’s GBP14.9 million.
 
"May has started robustly and the Board remains confident for the remainder of the year.”
 
Earlier this month Sportingbet agreed to acquire the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Centrebet, an Australian sports betting group.
 
This acquisition will now be effected through two schemes of arrangement under Australian law, and will be made by Sportingbet Australia, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sportingbet.
 
The consideration payable to Centrebet will be funded by the proceeds of the firm placing an open offer and a convertible bond Issue.
 
The Board of Sportingbet has announced a fully underwritten share issue to raise gross proceeds of GBP65 million through the issue of 154,761,904 new Ordinary Shares at a price of 42p per New Share, and the issue of convertible bonds to a nominal value of a further GBP65 milion.
 
Sportingbet intends to raise, through the New Issue and the Convertible Bond Issue, gross proceeds of GBP130 million in total (approximately GBP118.5 million net of expenses). The Convertible Bond Issue is not underwritten. The Open Offer will allow the company's existing shareholders who qualify the opportunity to participate in the fundraising on a basis of 0.15 Open Offer Shares for every 1 Existing Ordinary Share.
 
Qualifying Shareholders are also being offered the opportunity to subscribe for New Shares in addition to their basic entitlements under an excess application facility.
 
The issue price represents a discount of approximately 6.1 percent cent to the closing price of 44.75p per Ordinary Share on 25 May 2011.
 
The New Shares will represent approximately 23.43 percent of the enlarged Ordinary Share capital of the company following the fund raising initiatives.
 
Sportingbet Management has commented that the Centrebet acquisition provides an opportunity to improve Sportingbet's business mix between regulated and non-regulated income, increasing the group's proportion of net gaming revenue received from regulated markets from approximately 22 percent to over 30 percent.
 
Chief exec Andrew McIver, said this week: "This acquisition is a major step forward for Sportingbet as it accelerates the group's strategy of increasing its exposure to regulated markets and of geographic diversification. We will become the leading corporate bookmaker in the fast growing Australian market and look forward to other key markets regulating in the near future."