Annual General Meeting Statement
At the Annual General Meeting of Playtech Ltd, to be held this morning, the Group's Chairman, Roger Withers, will make the following statement:
"The year under review has once again seen significant progress for the Group; and management has continued to focus on enhancing the Company's position as the world's leading software provider to the gaming industry. The addition of new licensees, coupled with strong organic growth from its existing customer base, demonstrates the success of Playtech's strategy to migrate licensees from competitors, target existing land based operators in new and lucrative regulated markets and diversify geographically.
The financial performance for the year ended 31 December 2008 showed significant growth as revenues rose by 70 per cent to €111.5 million, whilst adjusted net profit before tax rose by 54 per cent to €40.5 million. This strong performance reflects the customer focus of Playtech's management and its commitment to investment in the development of new and exciting high quality products for its licensees. The Board is pleased to recommend the payment of a final dividend of €7.6 cents per share. This follows the interim dividend payment of €7.6 cents per share making a total dividend of €15.2 cents per share. The overall dividend is in line with our stated policy and demonstrates our continued confidence in the Group's businesses.
The Group's most significant achievement during the year was the successful completion of a private placement in June 2008, which raised £112 million (before expenses) and underlined the confidence of investors in the Company. The Company used the proceeds of the fundraising to undertake a transformational transaction with William Hill Online, which involved Playtech's acquisition of certain online gaming marketing assets, businesses and contracts from affiliates and other third parties for a total consideration of up to US$250 million in cash and the immediate injection of those assets into a new joint venture with William Hill in return for a 29 per cent interest in William Hill Online.
As well as the William Hill transaction, the other major business development of 2008 was Playtech's entry into the newly regulated Italian market. Four of the Group's 16 new licensees were derived from this major development. Regulated markets remain an important target for Playtech's expansionary ambitions in 2009 and we anticipate a continuing trend of operational start-up in new jurisdictions.
I would like to thank my colleagues on the Board for the contribution they have made to another successful year. In January Avigur Zmora resigned from his position as Non-Executive Director of the Company, having steered through the final stages of the William Hill transaction. Avigur's contribution to Playtech's success is well known and appreciated and I am pleased that he will continue to provide consultancy services to the Board on strategic matters. I would also like to thank former Finance Director Guy Emodi for his contribution and to express my appreciation for Shuki Barak who has taken on the role of Interim Chief Financial Officer.
I would now like to provide a short update on current trading conditions. The period covered by Q1 2009 is the first operational quarter following completion of the William Hill Online transaction. As previously stated, this has been a transformational transaction for Playtech and has significantly evolved the Company's income model. William Hill Online is performing well and in line with our expectations. Current trading for April 2009 was positive, where on an average daily basis, gross income improved by over 5% compared with the daily average over the whole of Q1 2009. The Company maintains a strong pipeline of new licensees in various jurisdictions, with a strong focus on regulated markets, presenting exciting new business opportunities ahead in 2009. Despite the challenging economic environment, the board remains comfortable with market expectations for the full year.
Finally I would like to thank Playtech's management and staff. They are Playtech's greatest strength and I thank them for their professionalism and hard work which has played such an important part in the excellent results that the company has consistently delivered over the years."
- Ends -
For further information contact:
|Mor Weizer, CEO, Playtech Ltd |
Shuki Barak, CFO, Playtech Ltd
c/o Bell Pottinger Corporate & Financial
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7861 3232
|Piers Coombs / Bruce Garrow |
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7523 8000
|Mumtaz Naseem |
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7545 8000
|David Rydell / Laura Pope |
Bell Pottinger Corporate & Financial
Tel. +44 (0) 20 7861 3232