Financial Digest: Bwin, Paddy, Hills, Youbet

14 May 2009
Bwin, the Vienna operator, said first-quarter gross gaming revenue came in at 117.6 million euros, up 12.5 percent over last year but flat, sequentially.

Net gaming revenues, 102.1 million euros, were up 11.1 percent against 2007 and 1.1 percent quarter over quarter.

Year on year, net revenue from sports betting rose 3 percent to 52.3 million euros, poker rose 37 percent to 27.8 million euros, games rose 27.6 percent to 5.6 million euros but casino was flat at 14.9 million euros.

The company said net profits were up 73 percent to 18 million euros.

In the first six weeks of the second quarter, average daily gross revenues were unchanged against last year and 7 percent below the first quarter.

Bwin is now forecasting full yearly gross gaming revenues of between 435 and 450 million euros, and Ebitda of 110 million euros.

Paddy Power, which Thursday released an interim management statement, also said it took a 51 percent stake in Sportstbet Pty Limited, the Australian bookmaker.

For the stake, the Irish operator will pay 27.2 million euros -- 25.7 million euros in cash and the balance in shares. Paddy will pay an additional 5.6 million euros to Sportsbet shareholders in 2010 if Sportsbet's Ebitda in 2009 exceeds 9.2 million euros.

At May 11, the company had no debt and 96 million euros in cash.

In the 19 weeks to May 12, the company said amounts staked at its retail and non-retail gambling businesses rose 31 percent and 1 percent, respectively, over the same period last year. Gaming and machine gross win grew by 9 percent.

"The Board is satisfied with progress and momentum in the year to date and remains comfortable with the consensus market forecast for 2009 for its existing businesses, subject, as ever, to the volatility that could arise from sporting results," Nigel Northridge, the company's chairman, said as part of a statement prepared for Thursday's annual general meeting.

William Hill said its joint venture in Spain with Codere S.A., Victoria Apuestas, will be gradually wound down over the coming months.

It said that achieving scale by growing the number of outlets there had been difficult because regulatory consents were slow in coming, adding that regulatory change in other of Spain's autonomous communities had been slower than expected.

The bookmaker said the economic downturn in Spain had also hindered the venture, and that the probable need for more capital would lead to a delay in achieving target returns.

"In these circumstances William Hill has decided to focus its international sports betting strategy on the internet via William Hill Online," the company said in a stock-exchange statement Thursday. "The withdrawal from the joint venture is not expected to have an impact on the Group's expectations for 2009."

In September, Hills and Codere sold their Italian joint venture to Intralot S.A., the Greek operator, for 5.5 million euros. Inc., the United States horse betting operator, said first-quarter revenues rose 25 percent to $24 million over the same period last year.

Gross profits were $8.3 million for a gross margin of 34.8 percent, up 14.9 percent against 2007. Net profits were $1.16 million.

The IGN staff continually troll the wires, foreign papers, corporate news alert services and other dark, dusty corners of the Web to bring you the very latest industry news.