888 Holdings Performs Well, Anderson to Step Down

14 September 2006

Online gaming company 888 Holdings Plc today reported an 88 percent surge in first-half underlying earnings as well as the unanticipated departure of CEO John Anderson, effective at the end of the year.  Anderson will remain with 888 as a non-executive director, and Gigi Levy, the group's COO, will step in as CEO.

Thus far, third quarter trading has met with management expectations and the group is reportedly on course to achieve a "satisfactory outcome for the full year," the company reported.

Gross profits totaled $48 million during the first half (ending June 30), up from $25.6 million a year before.  Analysts were predicting an underlying profit of $45.4 million. After tax- and share-benefit charges, 888 netted a $42.7 million profit, up from $24.5 million a year earlier--a 74 percent increase. The group also reported an interim dividend of 4.5 cents a share and a special dividend of 4.0.

"These are excellent results and represent a record performance of profitable growth," said Anderson, who has been a key figure in the I-gaming industry for the better part of a decade. "We have delivered on all our flotation goals."

888 and industry rival PartyGaming Plc., though, have been heavily sold off in recent months. And despite their nearly identical growth margins--PartyGaming also just reported a 74 percent increase in net profits--their success has been largely overshadowed by the arrests of former BetonSports CEO David Carruthers and Sportingbet Non-Executive Chairman Peter Dicks.