Playtech Chairman Lauds Another Year Of Exceptional Growth

Jackson reviews a successful year at online gambling software company's agm

Shareholders attending Playtech plc's agm this morning (Wednesday) heard chairman Alan Jackson praise the company's management for another year of exceptional growth in which total revenue increased 17 percent to Euro 367.2 million and, after stripping out the share of profit from William Hill Online, adjusted EBITDA grew 17 percent to Euro 159.4 million.

The Board has recommended a final dividend payment of 15.4 Euro cents per share, which gives a total ordinary dividend of 23.2 Euro cents per share for the year, as well as the special dividend of 34.1 pence per share paid in March. In aggregate, approximately Euro 188 million will be paid as dividends for the 2013 financial year, the chairman said.

The online gambling software company's cash position at the end of 2013 stood at Euro 527.4 million as a result of its continued strong performance and the successful sale of its stake in William Hill Online for approximately GBP 424 million, delivering a substantial return of over 3.5x the original investment, Jackson reminded shareholders.

"Given the cash-generative nature of Playtech's business and its existing cash resources, the Board continues to review the most effective use of the company's cash resources, assessing the potential for further value-enhancing acquisitions, joint ventures and partnerships, particularly focusing on regulated markets. Playtech has a proven ability to generate value through successful acquisitions, and management is confident that this will continue," the chairman said as he mapped out the future of the group.

Jackson recounted high points of the past year, which saw the acquisition of information and affiliate company PokerStrategy and two landmark agreements with Ladbrokes to revolutionise the bookmaker's digital offering leading to the completion of the migration of the entire Ladbrokes online gaming offer onto Playtech's platform, and the adoption of Playtech's IMS as the infrastructure for all its betting and gaming operations.

Jackson reemphasised the validity and importance of Playtech's strategy to focus on nationally regulated markets, positioning the company strongly for business in such environments across the world.

During 2013 Playtech's share price performed well, closing 73 percent higher than it had opened, the chairman noted.

Jackson applauded the performance of his predecessor, Roger Withers, who has retired as chairman and as a director of the company.

"Playtech has benefitted enormously from Roger's invaluable service and leadership since the company's IPO in 2006, and the Board is grateful to him for his dedication to the over many years," Jackson said, adding that his seat on the board had been taken by internationally gambling law expert Hilary Stewart-Jones.

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