Online gambling giant Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment has released its 2011 financial report, showing a decent performance while operating in a difficult economic climate.
Key financial indicators for 2011 were:
Revenue slightly ahead to €816 million.
Clean EBITDA up 3% to €199.3 million
Clean EPS of 18.5 Euro cents
DPS of 3.12p
Alliances with MGM, Boyd Gaming and Danske Licens Spil
Sale of Ongame for up to €29.5 million
Synergies of €23.3 million realised in 2011, ahead of plan
On-track to deliver €40 million of synergies in 2012 and €65 million in 2013 as planned
Over 31 million shares repurchased
Speaking about the financial report Co-CEOs Norbert Teufelberger and Jim Ryan said: "Real money and social gaming together with other forms of digital entertainment are converging. At the same time mobile platforms are increasingly important channels of distribution – each of these developments is being driven by advances in technology, new regulations and changes in consumer demand."
"We made excellent progress in 2011. The swift execution of a number of integration plans for our technology, people, products and brands has been rewarded with financial synergies coming through more quickly than expected, offsetting increased gaming duties payable as markets regulate. We remain on-track to deliver approximately €40 million of synergies this year and €65 million in 2013."
Current unofficial numbers for the period ending March 24th, 2012 showed:
Sports betting up 4% at €932,600 (Q4-2011 €900,200)
Casino and Games up 2% at €923,800 (Q4-2011 €902,700)
Poker neutral at E uro 747,300 (Q4-2011 €747,200)
Bingo up 2% at €324,100 (Q4-2011 €319,000
"The pace of regulatory, technological and competitive change is showing no sign of slowing down. But, the scale and breadth of our revenue base, coupled with our significant resources all mean that we are in a strong position to capture a bigger share of the expanding digital entertainment market."
"Current trading has been robust with gross average daily revenue in the 12 weeks to 24 March 2012 up 2% versus the fourth quarter of 2011 to €2,927,800 (Q4 11: €2,869,100). While the current macroeconomic environment appears to be impacting performance in parts of southern Europe, this is being offset by stronger performances elsewhere."
"Active player days increased in all verticals versus the previous quarter and amounts wagered in both sports and casino were up strongly although there was a small drop in gross win margin to 7.9% in sports (Q4 11: 8.5%) and 3.9% in casino (Q4 11: 4.1%)."
"Should the proposed regulatory framework in Schleswig-Holstein become effective and we are awarded a licence, we propose to offer sports betting, casino and poker products across Germany and pay the proposed tax of 20% of gross gaming revenue on all products. While this will impact Clean EBITDA in 2012, we have identified €10 million – €15 million of savings in 2012 and 2013 that will partially mitigate the impact on our financial performance."
"While regulatory uncertainties continue, the prospect of the €2012 championship later this year, the opening of the regulated Spanish market and our delivery of additional synergies mean that we remain confident about the group’s prospects."
"2011 was the year of integration and regulation. 2012 will be the year of integration, regulation and innovation – we have made an excellent start."
Bwin.party Group Chairman Simon Duffy also commented on the state of the industry, saying: "The rapid evolution of the online gaming industry is continuing, driven by advances in technology and changes to the regulatory landscape, resulting in a business environment that is both challenging and full of opportunity."
"In such an environment, where the competitive landscape is usually settled within a short space of time, late entry into any newly-regulated market is not an option. The enlarged enterprise of bwin.party provides a unique platform from which to launch into new markets with the requisite scale to take full advantage of the freedom to advertise, often for the first time."
"As part of our goal of participating in all major newly regulated markets, we were among the first wave of operators to launch on the opening of the Danish market at the beginning of 2012, as we will be when Spain opens later this year. Our agreements with MGM and Boyd mean that we are well-placed to be in the first wave when regulations allow entry into the United States, either on a federal or state-by-state basis."