3/31/2012

Bwin.party jumps on good results; Bwin.party earnings up, ready for regulatory changes

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LONDON - Online gaming firm bwin.party digital entertainment leapt into the top spot after it posted a robust set of full year earnings and believes it is well placed to take advantage of regulatory and technological shifts in its industry. Private equity investment firm 3i was another big riser after it revealed in a trading statement that, after a tough start to the year, market sentiment has improved in the last couple of months, leading to a strong performance in the company's investment portfolio - although the rally has come a bit late to have a significant effect on performance in 3i's current financial year, which runs to the end of March. Meanwhile, transport firm FirstGroup (Other OTC: FGROF.PK - news) was the biggest faller after it said lower economic activity in the north of England is putting pressure on its UK Bus business. The group says like-for-like revenues in UK Bus, in the 12 months to the end of March, will be 1.5% ahead of 2010-2011. The North of England and Scotland however are seeing "considerably lower" growth rates and that's where 60% of revenues are generated. FTSE 250 (FTSE: ^FTMC - news) - Risers Bwin.party Digital Entertainment (BPTY) 154.20p +5.47% 3i Group (III) 210.80p +3.33% Ruspetro (RPO) 207.50p +2.52% Drax Group (Frankfurt: A0MK9W - news) (DRX) 537.00p +2.38% Ferrexpo (Stuttgart: A0MRG2 - news) (FXPO) 298.20p +1.95% New World Resources A Shares (NWR) 437.40p +1.67% Kentz Corporation Ltd. (KENZ) 458.30p +1.39% Sports Direct International (SPD) 285.90p +1.31% Kenmare Resources (Irish: JEV.IR - news) (KMR) 49.18p +1.30% Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 3,035.00p +1.13% FTSE 250 - Fallers FirstGroup (Frankfurt: 896516 - news) (FGP) 249.30p -13.77% National Express Group (NEX) 236.80p -6.03% Dixons Retail (Other OTC: DSITF.PK - news) (DXNS) 18.25p -5.24% TalkTalk Telecom Group (TALK) 137.60p -5.10% Barratt Developments (BDEV) 139.00p -4.92% Petropavlovsk (Other OTC: PPLKF.PK - news) (POG) 592.00p -4.67% Go-Ahead Group (GOG) 1,242.00p -4.53% Northgate (Other OTC: NGTEF.PK - news) (NTG) 206.30p -4.40% Centamin (DI) (CEY) 68.05p -4.22% Essar Energy (Dusseldorf: 11224817.DU - news) (ESSR) 145.80p -4.08% NR

Bwin.party earnings up, ready for regulatory changes...

LONDON, March 29 - Bwin.party Digital (BPTY.L), the world's largest listed online gaming company, reported a rise in earnings in its maiden set of results and said it was well-placed to take advantage of regulatory and technological shifts in the gaming industry.

The company, which was formed by the merger of Austria's Bwin and PartyGaming last year, reported a 3 percent rise in clean EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) to 199.3 million euros ($264.8 million) in 2011.

The Gibraltar-based firm said synergies coming through faster than expected had offset increased gaming duties in regulated markets, pushing earnings up to just shy of consensus analyst estimates of 202 million euros provided by Bwin.party.

"We expect to gain competitive advantage this year from additional scale and improved flexibility that will flow from the integration and migration of our main products to a single technology platform," co-chief executives Jim Ryan and Norbert Teufelberger said in a statement.

Bwin.party said pro forma total revenue inched up to 816 million euros, compared to 814 million euros in 2010, despite the closures of its French casino and the World Cup football tournament in 2010.

The firm said current trading was robust with average gross average daily revenue 2 percent higher than in the fourth quarter of 2011 at 2.93 million euros.

"We have secured strong business partners in the United States ahead of any regulation there and have also applied for a license in Spain which is expected to regulate in the second quarter of this year," Ryan and Teufelberger said.

The company has also applied for a license in the Schleswig-Holstein region of Germany.

The firm said it will add more casino games, improve poker and bingo offerings, and prepare for the UEFA Euro 2012 soccer competition and the London 2012 Olympics.

Bwin.party will pay a final dividend of 1.56 pence per share, making a total of 3.12 pence per share for the year.

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