Online betting firm posts first-half loss

31st August 2011, Comments 0 comments

Online betting firm, the result of an Austro-British merger in 2010, posted a first-half loss on Wednesday, citing the closure of its French casino arm and a hike in gaming taxes.

Pro-forma net loss stood at 41 million euros ($59.2 million) in the first six months of the year, down from a profit of 35 million euros in the same period last year, said in a statement.

The figures for 2011 were calculated pro forma to take into account the merger between Austria's bwin and Britain's PartyGaming, which was agreed last summer but only completed in March.

According to this formula, total revenue fell by 3.0 percent to 398 million euros.

Underlying profit, as measured by earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), meanwhile dropped to 72.4 million euros from 92 million euros a year earlier.

"The closure of French casino and increased gaming taxes need to be taken into account when comparing our year-on-year performance," co-CEOs Jim Ryan and Norbert Teufelberger said in the statement.

But they remained upbeat.

"The results for the first half reflect our transition to becoming a global leader... with strong market positions in all key regulated markets."

"The expansion of online gaming in newly regulating markets has delivered promising levels of revenue growth, albeit with additional costs in the form of gaming taxes and compliance costs," they added.

The merged firm is listed both on the Vienna and London stock exchanges.

On Wednesday, shares were trading up 6.7 percent at 1.34 euros at 0830 GMT.

© 2011 AFP

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