Internet gaming firm Betfair has announced their financial results for the half year ending October 31st, 2014, noting a record in terms of return to shareholders.
Key financial indicators for the period were:
Revenue up 26 percent, driven by strong customer base growth and successful gaming cross-sell, as well as the 2014 FIFA World Cup football and favourable sports results;
Excluding the World Cup and unusually high gross win margins, revenue was up 12 percent;
Strong revenue growth resulted in EBITDA up 51 percent to GBP 73.9 million;
Underlying free cash flow up 186 percent to GBP 67.2 million;
A cash return of GBP 200 million to shareholders;
Interim dividend up 50 percent to 9 pence per share;
Increasing the medium term dividend payout target to approximately 50 percent of earnings;
Now expecting full year EBITDA of between GBP 97 million and GBP 103 million.
Operational highlights for the period were:
Active customer base up 50 percent to over one million following record activations and increased loyalty driven by Cash Out and Price Rush products;
Mobile revenue more than doubled and now represents 70 percent of sportsbook revenue;
Gaming revenue up 44 percent following a 63 percent increase in the number of sports betting customers using Gaming products for the first time;
Betfair US revenue up 17 percent as TVG launches the first Apple-approved US horseracing betting app;
The sale of the company's 50 percent stake in Betfair Australia to joint venture partner Crown Resorts Limited. Betfair will now supply its betting exchange to Crown on a B2B basis in the region.
Revenues in H1 were split Sports GBP 166 million, up 24 percent; Gaming GBP 42 million, up 44 percent; and Betfair USA GBP 28.4 million, up 17 percent.
Commenting on the company's performance Betfair CEO Breon Corcoran said, "These results demonstrate strong delivery against our strategy for achieving sustainable growth that we outlined two years ago. We have substantially strengthened our competitive position by investing in products that differentiate Betfair and by enhancing our marketing capabilities in a crowded market place."
"Innovative products such as Cash Out, Cash Back Extra and Price Rush, coupled with a relentless focus on providing value through market leading promotions and odds, have allowed Betfair to acquire and retain more customers than ever before."
"Our focus on regulated jurisdictions is also paying off. Revenues from sustainable markets grew by 32 percent in the first half of the year and now contribute more than 80 percent of total revenues."
"Betfair has also delivered considerable operational gearing and, as a result, strong top line growth has led to substantial EBITDA margin expansion and strong cash generation. In the last 12 months, Betfair has generated underlying free cash flow of GBP 114.1 million and had GBP 271.4 million of corporate cash at 31 October."
"In view of this, and the substantial cash flow generated, we are today announcing a GBP 200 million return of capital to shareholders and an increase in our targeted dividend payout ratio."
"This will leave Betfair with a more efficient capital structure whilst retaining flexibility to invest in the business and pursue strategic options."