Party Gaming have a good first half year


Revenues up 30 percent on strong growth in online casino and sportsbetting, and great potential in Bwin merger.

Party Gaming plc, a Gibraltar licensed online gambling group listed on the London stock exchange, has released its first half 2010 numbers for the period ended June 30.

Highlights of the report include:

* Total revenue up 30 percent to Euro181.2 million (2009: Euro139.9 million) driven by acquisitions and strong growth in casino and sports betting

* Continuing Clean EBITDA up 14 percent to Euro48.1 million (2009: Euro42.3 million)

* Continuing Basic Clean EPS of 6.0 Euro cents (2009: 6.7 Euro cents); Total Basic Clean EPS of 6.0 Euro cents (2009: 6.6 Euro cents)

* Transformational Proposed Merger with Bwin expected to complete in first quarter 2011

* Solid progress in newly regulated markets (France and Italy); with Denmark on-track to open early in 2011

* Net cashflow from continuing operations up 65 percent to Euro55.3 million (2009: Euro33.5 million) with net cash at 30 June 2010 of Euro146.8 million (2009: Euro166.7 million)

Party Gaming's chief executive, Jim Ryan, commented: “We delivered another robust financial performance in the first half and also made great progress in executing our strategy.

"While poker was impacted by the football World Cup and remained difficult from a competitive perspective, our other verticals continued to perform strongly.

"Total revenue was up 30 percent and clean EBITDA from continuing operations was up 14 percent versus the prior year. As previously announced, clean EBITDA margins in the first half were slightly lower than expected due to the delayed launch of cash game poker in Italy but we retain our previous full year guidance of approximately 28 percent, subject to the returns achieved on planned marketing spend in both France and Italy, where we are continuing to expand the share of our respective poker networks.

"Our proposed merger with Bwin is a transformational opportunity for the group and we expect that it will provide significant strategic, operational and financial benefits for the shareholders of both companies. Whilst there is much work to do ahead of completion in early 2011, we are excited about the prospects for what will then be the clear market leader in online gaming with strong positions in all key product verticals and territories.”

Turning to current trading, Ryan observed: "Since 30 June 2010, the group has continued to perform in line with the Board’s expectations. Seizing a strong position in newly regulated markets is a key focus for us. Our strategy of combining a strong B2C franchise with significant local brands is already proving to be a powerful force as evidenced by our network’s position in French poker.

"As other markets follow Italy and France, we expect that a limited number of large networks and brands will emerge to become market leaders – we are determined that together PartyGaming/Bwin will be one of them. This natural consolidation of the marketplace will accelerate through corporate mergers and acquisitions and as one of the largest players in the sector we remain committed to continue playing an active role.

"Whilst the macroeconomic and competitive environments remain challenging, we remain confident about the Group’s prospects for the rest of the year and beyond."

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