Bwin-party Earnings Up 2 Percent In H1-2015

Cost savings help lift core earnings, but taxes take a toll and revenues declined

Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment plc, the online gambling group at the centre of a tug of war between potential buyers GVC Holdings and 888 Holdings, posted a 2 percent rise in first-half 2015 earnings Friday.
The small increase had been helped by cost savings, which lifted the core earnings for H1-2015 to Euro 45.4 million.
Along with other online gambling groups, the company felt the pain of increased UK and European taxation.
Bwin-Party chief executive Norbert Teufelberger, reported on what was achieved … and what could have been:
"Clean EBITDA increased by 2 percent year-on-year despite the introduction of VAT in a number of EU Member States and the new UK point of consumption tax. However, our progress on non-core asset disposals and other cost saving initiatives is running ahead of plan – excluding the impact of EU VAT and UK point of consumption tax, clean EBITDA would have increased by 24 percent;
"Based upon our progress in the year-to-date and with the further roll-out of our latest mobile products, the introduction of new CRM tools and planned entry into two new nationally regulated markets later this year, we remain confident about the full year outlook."
Key points of the Bwin H1-2015 report included:
* Total revenue down at Euro 296.5 million (2014: Euro 317.1m) reflecting the absence of the FIFA World Cup, lower margins in sports, market declines in poker and the impact of EU VAT in certain markets; nationally regulated and/or taxed markets represented 60 percent of total revenue (2014: 56 percent);
* Gross gaming revenue through mobile/touch up by 50 percent and now represents 30 percent of overall GGR (2014: 19 percent) with growth across all verticals;
* Clean EBITDA up by 2 percent to Euro 47.3 million (2014: Euro 46.4m) despite being impacted by lower revenue and higher taxes. Excluding the impact of EU VAT and the POCT, Clean EBITDA would have increased by 24 percent to Euro 57.7 million (2014: Euro 46.4m);
* Profit after tax of Euro 2.9 million (2014 – Euro 94 million);
* Sports betting revenue Euro 111.1 million (H1-2014: Euro 127.4 million);
* Casino and gaming revenue Euro 98.4 million (H1-2014: Euro 103.3 million);
* Poker Euro 33.9 million (H1-2014: Euro 44.1 million);
* Bingo Euro 26.9 million (H1-2014: Euro 26.7 million);
* Other Euro 26.2 million (H1-2014: Euro 15.6 million);
* On-track to meet or exceed Euro 15 million incremental cost saving target this year;
* Total consideration received from the sale of non-core assets of Euro 37.1 million;
* Net cash at of Euro 58.1 million (: Euro 34.6m);
* Basic EPS of 4 Euro cents (2014: loss of 11.4 Euro cents);
* Current trading: In the 8 weeks to average daily net revenue was down 9 percent versus the same period in 2014;
* Recommended half year dividend up 2 percent to 1.92 pence per share (2014: 1.89 pence)

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