Playtech cashes in from casino games

Thu Aug 30, 2012 3:26pm IST

* H1 core earnings up 64 pct, beating analyst forecasts

* Makes a good start to its third quarter

* Shares up 4.6 pct to three-month high

By Paul Sandle

LONDON, Aug 30 (Reuters) – Demand for bingo products and
casino games such as blackjack, roulette and slots helped online
software group Playtech post a better-than-expected 64
percent rise in first-half earnings.

Playtech develops software platforms for online and other
games for clients including Irish bookmaker Paddy Power
and g a ming company Gala. It also has a 29 percent
stake in William Hill Online.

Chief executive Mor Weizer said on Thursday the group had
seen a good performance in its casino, bingo and mobile sports
betting platform Mobenga.

“Mobile is becoming very important and one of the fastest
growing segments in our industry,” he said in an interview.

He also said social gaming was becoming very appealing, not
least because Facebook now allowed play for money.

“The convergence between real money and social (media) is
almost inevitable,” he said.

Playtech reported adjusted earnings before interest, tax,
depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of 91.2 million euros
($114 million) for the six months to end-June on revenue which
doubled to 154 million euros.

Weizer said the company had made a strong start to the third
quarter, a traditionally quieter period, with daily average
revenues up over 25 percent versus the comparable period.

Shares in the group rose 4.6 percent to a more than
three-month high of 390 pence by 0908 GMT.

Analysts at Panmure Gordon said it was a strong first-half
performance, with EBITDA 10 million euros ahead of its 81.2
million euros forecast. They expected the market consensus for
the full year of 165 million euros to rise.

Nick Batram at broker Peel Hunt said the results were
slightly ahead of expectations. “With a strong start to Q3, the
risks to forecasts look firmly on the upside,” he said.

Playtech also said finance director David Mathewson would
retire, and would be replaced by company insider Ron Hoffman.

It is paying an interim dividend of 7.8 euro cents.

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