But weak e-gaming performance pulled down growth in sportsbook operations
The UK online gambling group Betfair has posted revenue up 2 percent to GBP 393.6 million for the year to end-April 2014, reporting strong growth in sportsbook and Betfair US operations, offset in part by a weak e-gaming performance.
Much of the negative impact flowed from the company's decision to exit unregulated markets (GBP 13.3 million revenue impact from Greece, Germany, Cyprus and Spain) and the absence of a major international football tournament.
Reported profit before tax for the year was significantly up at GBP 61.1 million (FY13 loss: GBP 49.4 million).
EBITDA was up 24 percent to GBP 91.1 million (FY13: GBP 73.3 million) and underlying profit before tax was up 61 percent to GBP 61.1 million (FY13: GBP 38 million), with the improvement driven primarily by the cost savings announced in FY13.
Underlying basic earnings per share increasing by 57 percent to 49 pence (FY13: 31.2 pence).
The Group ended the year with a cash balance of GBP 209.8 million (FY13: GBP 168.1 million) and no debt.
The Board is recommending the payment of a final dividend of 14 pence per share. Together with the interim dividend of 6 pence per share, the proposed full year dividend is 20 pence per share (FY13: 13 pence).
Breon Corcoran, CEO, said in his management report:
"Our strategy is working. The emphasis on sustainable revenues and our product and marketing investments is paying off, resulting in record revenues and profits. The focus in FY14 was on creating a competitive Sportsbook and we are now entering an exciting phase of product development to leverage both our Exchange and Sportsbook to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
"Betfair has always been a unique betting company and our innovative sports betting products such as Cash Out and Price Rush are redefining the ways customers bet. Cash Out+ builds on the success of our Cash Out feature which allows customers to lock in profits before the conclusion of an event and has been used over 30 million times. This enhancement allows customers to partially cash out their bets and further differentiates our product.
"Price Rush is the first step of integrating our Exchange and Sportsbook and allows the odds on certain Sportsbook bets to be boosted by using the superior value available on the Exchange. Over 500,000 bets have been 'Rushed' so far and on average the odds on these bets were boosted by 24 percent.
The introduction of the Sportsbook, increased television advertising spend and the strengthening of our online marketing capability have broadened our customer reach and led to a 54 percent increase in the number of customers acquired in the UK and Ireland.
"As a result, we have seen three consecutive quarters of double digit revenue growth in sustainable markets. Our focus on efficiency has allowed operating margin expansion at the same time as increasing marketing and technology investment to approximately GBP 200 million.
"Our strong trading has continued into the new financial year and we look forward to building on this positive momentum during the World Cup that kicks off tomorrow and which will be an excellent showcase for our market leading products."
Online Casino News Courtesy of Infopowa