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Playtech IPO

Discussion in 'Casino Industry Discussion' started by Casinomeister, Mar 28, 2006.

    Mar 28, 2006
  1. Casinomeister

    Casinomeister Forum Cheermeister Staff Member

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    Playtech Limited
    28 March 2006

    Playtech Limited ('Playtech' or the 'Company')

    Successful Admission to AIM

    Commencement of dealing in shares

    Playtech, the international designer, developer and licensor of software for the gambling industry, is pleased to announce that dealings in its ordinary shares are due to commence trading on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange plc at 8.00 am today.


    Key highlights

    The placing has raised approximately 265.2 million gross through a placing
    of 103,142,466 ordinary shares (the 'Placing Shares') at 257 pence per ordinary
    share. The Company has raised net proceeds of approximately 31.8 million. The
    ordinary shares, subject to the placing, represent approximately 48 per cent.
    of Playtech's total issued ordinary shares.

    The shares will trade under the ticker symbol PTEC.L.

    Collins Stewart acted as sole bookrunner, nominated advisor and joint
    broker. Seymour Pierce acted as joint broker.

    The placing values Playtech at approximately 548 million, reflecting the
    total number of ordinary shares in issue of 213,333,333.

    The Placing Shares have been placed with a broad range of international
    institutional investors.

    In the two year period ended 31 December 2005, Playtech recorded a 268
    per cent. increase in revenues to US$47.6m. In the same period, post tax
    profit increased from approximately US$8.3m in 2003 to US$35.6m in 2005.

    Roger Withers, who has over 30 years of experience in the leisure and gaming
    industries, has been appointed non-Executive Chairman with effect from
    Admission.

    Commenting on today's announcement, Avigur Zmora, Chief Executive Officer of Playtech, said:

    'The outstanding interest in Playtech's shares from both US and UK investors is a clear endorsement of the company's offering, business model and prospects. We look forward to life as a plc and to continuing the growth of the business.'
    - ends -

    For further information

    Avigur Zmora + 44 (0) 207 861 3232
    Playtech Ltd
    c/o Bell Pottinger

    Collins Stewart + 44 (0) 20 7523 8000
    Tim Mickley

    Bell Pottinger + 44 (0) 20 7861 3232
    David Rydell/Peter Otero

    Notes to Editors

    The Playtech Group designs, develops and licenses software for the gambling
    industry.


    Founded in 1999, Playtech has grown rapidly since inception; from 2 licensees in
    2001 to 39 today. Its platforms support 94 online casinos, 15 online poker rooms
    and 15 online bingo sites.


    Revenues have grown from approximately US$12.9m in 2003 to US$47.6m in 2005 with
    profits growing from US$8.3m to US$35.6m respectively.


    Licensees include online operators who have migrated their gaming systems onto
    the Playtech group's platform, such as Intercontinental Casinos, traditional
    land-based organisations such as Christchurch Casinos and sports betting
    operators such as Bet365, the Tote, BetWWTS.com, SportsInterAction and BetFred.



    The Playtech Group


    The Playtech Group designs, develops and licenses software for the gambling
    industry. The Playtech Group's principal software products are online casino,
    online multi-player poker, online bingo, live videostream gaming, fixed-odds
    games and land-based kiosk networks.


    The Playtech Software is flexible and can be tailored to reflect the varied
    gaming habits and cultural nuances of players from different countries and
    backgrounds. All of the Playtech Group's products have multi-currency
    functionality and are available in a variety of European, Asian and other
    languages. Product development is driven by the needs of Licensees and the
    Playtech software has been designed to provide licensees with the tools to help
    them optimise their business performance. The random number generator used in
    the Playtech software has been certified by accredited testing facilities.


    The Playtech Group's licensee base has grown from two in 2001 to 39 Licensees
    (as at 21 March 2006), operating, in aggregate, 94 online casinos, 15 online
    poker rooms and 15 online bingo sites.


    Current Licensees include online operators who have migrated their gaming
    systems to the Playtech software such as Intercontinental Casinos, traditional
    land-based organisations such as Christchurch Casinos and sports betting
    operators such as Bet365, the Tote, BetWWTS.com, SportsInterAction and BetFred.


    The Directors believe that the Playtech Group's key strengths are its:


    strong and innovative management and staff;

    proven track record of attracting and supporting major online gaming
    brands;

    geographically diversified Licensee customer base;

    global product range offering wide customer choice;

    strong position in the fast growing Asian marketplace;

    one of the industry's leading technology and back end systems;

    integrated live videostream games; and

    new product developments, including Videobet and mobile games.



    History and Background


    The Group's founders, who collectively have experience in the software
    engineering and payment processing industries, developed the Group's first
    software product between 1999 and 2001. By the end of 2003, the Playtech Group
    had 17 Licensees of its casino product, including the online arm of land-based
    casino groups and online casino operators which had migrated to the Playtech
    Software from other software providers. In the same year, the Playtech Group, in
    association with one of its Affiliates, launched its live gaming product and
    signed the first Licensee for its bingo product.


    By the end of 2004, the Playtech Group had 28 licensees (27 of which were
    operating online casinos and 10 of which were operating online bingo rooms) and
    in conjunction with one of its affiliates, launched its multiplayer poker
    product and the iPoker network.


    In April 2005, the Playtech Group released a customised software package aimed
    at sportsbook operators which included virtual horse racing and 13 other
    fixed-odds games. In October 2005, a customer of one of the Playtech Group's
    licensees won the largest ever online progressive jackpot at that time of
    approximately US$1.96 million.


    Revenue Model


    The Playtech Group generates revenue from licensing Playtech software to
    licensees and charging a royalty based on a percentage of a licensee's net reve
    nue. Originally, contracts with licensees had fixed terms of two or three years.
    The Playtech Group's policy now is for new licensees, and those existing
    licensees who are renewing their contracts, to have fixed terms for at least 12
    months.


    Product and Platform Overview


    The Playtech Group has developed a software platform onto which all its software
    products (online casino, online multi-player poker, online bingo, live
    videostream gaming, fixed-odds games and land-based kiosk networks) can be
    incorporated as stand-alone applications. Each application can be accessed by
    players through a single user account using the same username-password
    combination for all products offered by that licensee. This assists each
    licensee in managing its operations by way of a single management interface.


    The Playtech software provides licensees with the functionality required to
    operate an online gambling business, including customer relationship management
    tools. Other functionality includes random number generation, affiliate and web
    tracking, transaction processing and system security.


    The Playtech software's modular architecture, scalability and built-in
    redundancy enable it to grow with a licensee's business and accommodate, within
    reason, future product diversification.


    Security is a key component of the Playtech software. The Playtech Group employs
    a mixture of software, procedural security and redundancy measures which are
    designed to protect its gaming system and the sensitive data it contains from
    malicious intrusion.


    The Playtech Group attempts to meet licensee requirements by endeavouring to
    maintain the highest aesthetic standards possible across the Playtech Group's
    product range. Proprietary software enables the Group's games designers to
    create gaming environments which include 3D animation and realistic game play.


    New Developments


    Mobile gaming

    The Playtech Group has contracted a third party developer to exclusively provide
    it with systems and a framework for certain mobile casino games that will be
    integrated with the Playtech infrastructure. The mobile system is being deve
    loped to use the same accounts and game-servers as the standard online system
    and enables Licensees to offer their players customised games. The Group expects
    that the mobile technology will be initially compatible with approximately 250
    different handsets used in the UK, the US and Asia. The mobile system has been
    designed to minimise the time taken to add new handset models, and will be able
    to support credit cards and most of the popular payment and withdrawal systems
    such as NETeller and Firepay.


    Videobet technology

    The Videobet technology was developed in conjunction with, and funded by, the
    Playtech Group. It comprises a land-based gaming system which can be networked.
    The Videobet technology will provide a high level of animation and sound
    quality, and can be integrated with the Playtech Group's jackpot network,
    thereby allowing players to win jackpots offered by the broader network. As the
    terminals will be networked, an operator will have access to real time betting
    information and will be able to put limits on deposits, control the volume of
    the game and shut down the game on any particular terminal. In addition, an
    operator is remotely able to change a game in real time to match customer
    demographics. The Association of British Bookmakers has approved certain games
    available on the Videobet terminals for use within licensed betting shops in the
    UK.


    Strategy


    The Playtech Group has an established and well-defined software brand for the
    online gambling industry. The directors believe that there is growth potential
    in all of its business areas, together with an opportunity to use the Playtech
    Group's skill and experience as a software developer to create additional reve
    nue streams.


    The Playtech Group will continue to seek to attract high quality licensees with
    an established customer base and track record whilst developing new technology
    platforms and aiming to be at the forefront of industry standards.


    The Playtech Group will continue to focus on new developments, including the
    Videobet technology, with a particular emphasis on the Asian markets and the d
    evelopment of games in such markets. In addition, the Group intends to provide a
    mobile version of its casino product to licensees.


    The Playtech Group intends to continue to focus on its poker product and the d
    evelopment of the iPoker network and will also, if appropriate, diversify into
    other poker related activities. The Playtech Group may also consider expanding
    its operations into other aspects of the gambling market and will also, if
    appropriate, look at acquisition opportunities which arise.


    Reasons for Admission and Use of Proceeds


    The directors believe that the Company's flotation and the raising of new funds
    pursuant to the placing is an important step in the Playtech Group maintaining
    its position as a highly regarded software provider within the online gambling
    industry.


    In addition, the Company is seeking admission of the enlarged share capital to
    trading on AIM in order to create a public market in the ordinary shares, to
    provide access to capital and to provide the Playtech Group with the ability to
    incentivise its employees through its share option plan, which will assist the
    Playtech Group in continuing to attract, retain and motivate high calibre
    employees.


    The net proceeds of the placing of the subscription shares will be used by the
    Company for the following purposes:


    expanding into new territories and products;

    investing in operations, infrastructure and premises;

    investing in research and development;

    taking advantage of the substantial growth potential of online gambling
    within land-based casinos, including through the acquisition of appropriate
    technologies or businesses;

    general working capital purposes.



    Board of Directors


    Roger Withers (aged 63), Non-executive Chairman


    Roger has over 30 years' experience in the leisure and gaming industries. In
    1973, Roger joined Ladbrokes (Hilton) where he held a number of senior positions
    in the bookmaking, casino, lottery and gaming machine divisions. In 1986, he
    joined Bass where his roles included managing director of BMLS and Coral Racing
    and executive chairman of Bass Leisure South Africa. He retired from Bass in
    1998. Roger currently has a number of other non-executive directorships,
    including Chairman of Arena Leisure plc and senior independent non-executive
    director of FireOne Plc.


    Avigur Zmora (aged 32), Chief Executive Officer


    Avigur joined the Playtech Group in July 2002 and became the Group's Chief
    Executive Officer in February 2006. Prior to joining the Group, Avigur was chief
    financial officer of New Age Ventures Limited, a Tel Aviv listed company that
    served as an incubator to several successful technology companies, including
    Playtech. Prior to this, Avigur was controller and chief financial officer of
    Gateway 4 You Limited, a Tel Aviv listed company and a payment processing firm
    specialising in credit card fraud protection. Avigur qualified as a certified
    public accountant with Arthur Andersen after national service in the Israeli
    defence forces.


    Thomas Hall (aged 38), Business Development Director


    Tom is the Group's Business Development Director and former Chief Executive
    Officer, having been with the Group since 2002. Based in Asia, Tom has been
    primarily responsible for overseeing global customer growth and the development
    of customised software solutions for the Asian marketplace. From 1995 until he
    joined the Playtech Group in 2002, he was chief executive officer of TTR
    Strategic Holdings Limited ('TTR'), an Asia Pacific focused financial services
    group. Tom remains a non-executive director of NAV Limited, a financial services
    data processing subsidiary of TTR. Prior to that, he worked in Swiss private
    banking and private client financial services in the UK and Hong Kong. He also
    serves as non-executive chairman of the affiliate, Emphasis Services Limited,
    an Asian gaming consultancy and venture capital firm.


    Moshe Barak (aged 37), Chief Financial Officer


    Moshe joined the Playtech Group in December 2005 and was appointed Chief
    Financial Officer with effect from 1 March 2006 having previously been financial
    controller of ImageSat International N.V., a leading provider of satellite
    imagery services to worldwide customers. Prior to this, Moshe worked at Arthur
    Andersen in Israel where he qualified as a certified public accountant.


    Rafael Ashkenazi (aged 31), Chief Operating Officer


    Rafi joined the Playtech Group as Chief Operating Officer of the Playtech Group
    in January 2006. From 2001 until 2005, Rafi was VP of project & products for
    SQLink Group, an Israeli company and provider of end-to-end IT services
    specialising in on-site software consulting and services. Prior to this, Rafi
    worked for Hapoalim Bank, the largest bank in Israel, as a system analyst and
    developer.


    Alan Jackson (aged 63), Non-executive Director


    Alan has over 30 years' experience in the leisure industry. From 1973 to 1991,
    he occupied a number of positions at Whitbread, principally as managing director
    of Beefeater steakhouse and also the Whitbread restaurant division where he was
    responsible for the creation and development of the Beefeater, Travel Inn and
    TGI Friday brands. In 1991, he founded his own business which became Inn
    Business Group plc in 1995 and was subsequently acquired by Punch Taverns plc in
    1999. He chaired Oriental Restaurant Group plc until its sale to Noble House in
    2000 and has been chairman of The Restaurant Group plc since 2001. He is
    currently non-executive chairman of Charles Wells Limited and a non-executive
    director of De Vere Group plc and Regent Inns plc.


    Omer Shvili (aged 28), Non-executive Director


    Omer has been involved in the online gambling industry for several years, having
    co-founded iBetcha.com in 1999 and served as the company's president and
    chairman between 1999 and 2000. Omer was also a co-founder of BettingCorp
    Limited which was formed in 2000. Both iBetcha.com and BettingCorp developed
    proprietary online gaming platforms. In 2000, iBetcha.com was acquired by Uproar
    Inc., then a publicly traded company on NASDAQ which was subsequently acquired
    by Vivendi Universal. Between 2000 and 2002, Omer served as vice president
    responsible for business development within Vivendi Universal's Internet Games
    division in New York. In 2003, BettingCorp was acquired by OpenTV. Omer is also
    a co-founder and director of Skibo Partners Management Limited, a Cayman
    Islands' based investment management firm.




    This information is provided by RNS
    The company news service from the London Stock Exchange
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