August 3, 2009 (CAP Newswire) — The future is looking bright for 888 Holdings Plc, the second-largest online gambling company in the United Kingdom. The company’s stock price jumped up 3.4 percent as it issued a report for the future filled with confidence, predicting a sales growth of more than 20 percent in the online gaming industry over the course of the next year.
Perhaps the prediction was meant to distract from 888’s second-quarter performance, which saw its operating income fall 12 percent to $61 million from the previous year. (That was still, however, a seven percent improvement over its performance in 2009’s first quarter.) At any rate, it worked; according to Reuters news service, the strong prediction, plus an announcement that 888 is close to making a major acquisition, caused the company’s shares to rise 3.4 percent.
"One of them is very close to closing," 888’s Chief Executive Gigi Levy told Reuters. "It's a bolt-on but would help us in our business-to-business strategy. A few others are at an earlier stage."
Levy also told the news services that he was confident that 888 “could raise at least one times EBITDA to fund acquisitions.” Per the news story, the current “consensus forecast for full-year EBITDA currently stands at $52.5 million, according to a Reuters Estimates poll of six analysts. … 888 also holds cash of $110 million and has no debt.”
“888, in common with other online gaming companies, is targeting the business-to-business segment to drive growth as tough economic conditions put pressure on its consumer business.”
Bloomberg.com offers even more details on 888’s acquisition plans. The company is seeking to acquire European companies, "or develop its own online games, to target female customers," the news site states. “Online gambling, which once had an 85 percent-male customer base, is now used about as much by women in Britain because of the growth in Internet bingo, Levy said.”