Playtech's profits up by 71%


Latest numbers are all going the right way - up!

Playtech Limited has posted a 71 percent rise in full-year net profit and raised its dividend, as new licence agreements boosted its bottom line, and says it has made a good start to 2010.

"Current trading is being driven by the group's investments in Italy, Spain, and Serbia over 2009," chief executive Mor Weizer told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview, adding the company has seen a stabilisation in the economy generally.

Publishing its full year results for the period ended December 31st 2009, the software company noted the following financial highlights:

* Gross income up 23 percent to Euros 137.3 million (2008: Euros 111.5 million), reflecting first time income from associate, William Hill Online

* Adjusted EBITDA increased by 25 percent to Euros 93.7 million (2008: Euros 74.7 million) reflecting margin of 82 percent from revenues and margin of 68 percent from gross income (2008: 67 percent for both measures)

* Total revenues up by 3 percent to Euros114.8 million (2008: Euros 111.5 million) and like-for-like revenues up 8.4 percent.

* Net profit after tax of Euros 69.5 million (2008: Euros 40.7 million) an increase of 71 percent

* Cash generated from operating activities and sums received from William Hill totalled Euros 89.2 million (2008: Euros 68.7 million) reflecting 95 percent of the group's adjusted EBITDA (2008: 92 percent)

The company has recommended a final dividend of 9.4 Euro cents a share, making an aggregate dividend for 2009 of 18.3 Euro cents per share (2008: 15 Euro cents per share - up 20.4 percent.

The company reported the following operational highlights:

*Integration of William Hill Online completed in October 2009

* Acquisitions of GTS in December 2009 and Virtue Fusion in February 2010 positions Playtech as a leading supplier for both online bingo and games platforms

* Strategic partnerships announced since the year end with Scientific Games and Sportech position Playtech for growth in locally regulated markets

*Enhanced product offerings include: significantly enhanced game portfolio; major poker functionality upgrade including multi-currency capabilities; and new sportsbook launch with its first licensee

* Italian poker network grew strongly throughout year, now six licensees representing 16 percent of the Italian market

* Unique cross platform capability enhanced through multiplayer television gaming solution with NetPlayTV and web-based mobile, providing solution for Apple and Google smartphone operating systems

* Videobet achieved critical mass through partnership with Global Draw, signed after the year end, including substantial UK elements giving it a leading position in that market

* Restructured development centres and workflow management delivering efficient and scalable R and D platform

Management reported that in current trading Playtech has enjoyed a strong start to 2010. Following the acquisition of Virtue Fusion, daily average revenues for the first quarter are projected to increase by over 18 percent compared with Q4 2009 based on the current run-rate.
To date, on a like-for-like basis, daily average revenues excluding the acquisition are up by over 8 percent compared to the already strong previous quarter, reflecting a recovery in activity across the Playtech licensee base. Encouragingly, all products are performing in line with or ahead of budget.

The company has invested considerably during 2009 - restructuring the business, entering new markets, acquiring new licensees and expanding its portfolio of new games.

Roger Withers, Non-executive chairman, said: "This has been another significant year of growth for Playtech. Excellent progress has been made both operationally and strategically.

"We have made good use of our substantial cash position to make a number of focused acquisitions and investments which should prove highly accretive in the medium to long term.

"Playtech is a growing profitable business with strong cash flows, high margins and an attractive dividend policy. Playtech continues to outperform the market and the Board looks forward to 2010 and beyond with great confidence."

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