Playtech cashes in from casino games


LONDON |
Thu Aug 30, 2012 11:31am BST

LONDON (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 gaming 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.

(Editing by Neil Maidment and Helen Massy-Beresford)

Article source: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/08/30/uk-playtech-results-idUKBRE87T09G20120830

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