Good news for Bwin

EBITDA rises 40 percent for half year, but sportsbetters did well out of the company

The Vienna-listed online gambling giant Bwin had some generally good news for investors as it released its second quarter and half year results this week, reporting a rise in EBITDA of 40 percent.

Over the first six months of 2009 the Internet gambling group recorded EBITDA of Euro 51 million, 42 percent better than H1 2008 when Euro 36.5 million was achieved. Second quarter 09 EBITDA was similarly encouraging, rising 42 percent over Q2 2008 to Euro 15 million (Q2 2008: Euro 10.6 million).

H1 gross gaming revenue rose marginally to Euro 212.7 million (H1 2008: Euro 207 million) but for the quarter dropped 7.3 percent to Euro 95 million (Q2 2008: Euro 102.6 million).

Betting turnover was 6 percent up at Euro 1.6 billion in the first six months, and second quarter betting turnover was 2.2 percent up to Euro 810.9 million.

Sportsbetters did well against the company, resulting in weak margins around 5.9 percent for the quarter, down from 7.9 percent in Q2 2008. Gross quarterly revenues from sports declined by 25 percent to Euro 44.8 million (Q2 2008: Euro 59.3 million) with net gaming revenue slipping 26 percent to Euro 37.4 million (Q2 2008: Euro 50.4 million).

Poker lessened the impact of the sportsbetting declines, contributing net gaming revenue of Euro 20.2 million - a 12.8 percent rise from 2008's Euro 17.9 million, but over the group there was a 12 percent fall in overall NGR to Euro 77.8 million.

Games NGR achieved 23.1 percent growth to Euro 5.7 million over the second quarter, compared to Euro 4.6 million in Q2 2008, probably due to the launch of a new backgammon platform.

Online casino NGR showed a small decline from Euro 15.1 million in 2008 to Euro 14.6 million this time, attributed to stagnant marketing due to internal responsible gaming considerations.

Active customer numbers reached 1 057 000, slightly down on last year's 1 095 000, with the number of new active customers declining by 15.1 percent to 251 000.

Management reported on the first few weeks of quarter 3 2009, commenting that thus far gross gaming revenues were 2 percent higher than Q3 2008 at this time, with sportsbetting marhgins returning to more acceptable margins between 7 and 9 percent. Management anticipates that its target of Euro 110 EBITDA for the full year 2009 will be achieved.

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