February 5, 2009 (InfoPowa News) — 888 Holdings plc released an interim management statement this week, again showcasing impressive full-year numbers in which the company can take pride, but rather more depressed Q4 results.

Highlights include:

* Total Operating Income for the 12 months ended 31 December 2008: U.S. $263 million (2007: U.S. $217 million), up 21 percent

* Net Gaming Revenue for the 12 months ended 31 December 2008 from Emerging Offering U.S. $45 million (2007: U.S. $14 million), up 209 percent

* Net Gaming Revenue from Online Casino operations for the 12 months ended 31 December 2008 U.S. $134 million (2007: U.S. $118 million), up 13 percent

* Net Gaming Revenue from Online Poker operations for the 12 months ended 31 December 2008 U.S. $76 million (2007: U.S. $81 million), a decline of 6 percent

* 24 percent increase in real money registered accounts to 5.8 million as of 31 December 2008

* Promising B2B pipeline with one white label deal already signed in January focusing on continental Europe

* Poker released in 11 new languages, 888sport launched in one additional language and integration of Paypal to 888's already wide choice of payment methods

* Third-party games integration continues and reached a total of 22 integrated games

Q4 2008 KPIs were less satisfactory, reflecting the troubled economic times:

* Total Operating Income: U.S. $60 million (Q4 2007: U.S. $65 million) a decline of 8 percent compared to Q4 2007, a result of adverse foreign exchange movement with the marked appreciation of the U.S. dollar compared to the Sterling and the Euro, challenging trading conditions and an uncertain recessionary economic environment

* Net Gaming Revenue from Casino U.S. $29 million (Q4 2007: U.S. $35 million), a decline of 19 percent compared to Q4 2007

* Net Gaming Revenue from Poker U.S. $16 million (Q4 2007: U.S. $21 million), a decline of 25 percent compared to Q4 2007

* Number of active customers in Casino and Poker: 201,119, a decline of 4 percent compared to Q4 2007

* NGR per active group customer in Casino and Poker: U.S. $223, a decline of 18 percent compared to Q4 2007
 
* Number of active customers in Casino: 72,762 a decline of 1 percent compared to Q4 2007

* NGR per active Casino customer: U.S. $395, a decline of 18 percent compared to Q4 2007

* Number of active customers in Poker: 158,557, a decline of 7 percent compared to Q4 2007

* NGR per active Poker customer: U.S. $101, a decline of 19 percent compared to Q4 2007

* Net Gaming Revenue from Emerging Offering: U.S. $12 million (2007: U.S. $6 million), up 100 percent

Trading in January 2009 has begun positively compared to December 2008, especially in Casino, Poker, Bingo and Live Dealer, 888.com management reports. Specifically, new customer recruitment increased more than 20 percent, Net Gaming Revenue by 10 percent and deposits by 4 percent in each case compared to December (which was the weakest month of the quarter).

Management advises that 888's B2B strategy is progressing well with one deal already signed in January focusing on continental Europe. Further B2B deals are being negotiated.

Poker was released in 11 new languages including Japanese, Greek, Russian and eastern European languages; 888sport was launched in one additional language; third-party games integration continues and has now reached a total of 22 integrated games, and the popular PayPal payment method was integrated into 888's already wide choice of payment methods.

The group's financial position remains robust with approximately U.S. $99 million cash equivalents (of which approximately U.S. $33 million represent liabilities to customers) and no debt, leaving the group in an strong position to exploit M&A opportunities when they become available.

Gigi Levy, Chief Executive Officer, said: "888 demonstrated tremendous progress during 2008 with 21 percent Total Operating Income growth despite a disappointing Q4.

"The prolonged and deepening economic downturn and volatile adverse foreign exchange movements meant unprecedented challenging trading conditions following the end of the summer holiday season. Players played less and we recognized lower revenue denominated in U.S.$ however this was partly mitigated by tighter cost control and cost savings given the group's high proportion of costs which are denominated in non U.S. currencies. We are therefore confident that we will meet or exceed full year clean EBITDA market expectations.
 
"During the year we have continued the transformation of the group from a pure B2C-focused organisation to a world class B2B end to end gaming solution provider — a milestone of which was June's Sportech deal. Our pipeline for 2009 is promising and we expect to continue our progress across all business lines."

 


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