ross Operating Benefit (EBITDA) has been 61.8 million euros in the first quarter 2008, which represents a 21.9% growth regarding the same period last year. Net Benefit, which has been 1.1 million euros, compared to 9.3 million of the same period in 2007, mainly due to charges for the business restructuring in Italy, previously announced, and the differences in the type of change. Codere started having benefit in 2008, compared to the negative closure in 2007.
The clue elements in order to obtain these results have been the increase in the business volume in Mexico, associated to the growth of electronic bingo terminals (TEBs) instaled and the proportional consolidation of ICELA, the best operations in the business terminals in Argentina and the growth of machines in Spain.
In Spain, collection in the area of recreational machines grew a 5.7% in the first quarter of 2008 until reaching 53.5 million euros, reflecting an increase of the quantity of machines installed and, in a lesser extent, the sale of machines. It has exceded the number of 15,700 machines installed.
In Argentina, collection increases a 14.2% with regards to the first quarter of 2007, until reaching 80.5 million euros. The growth of the portfolio of recreational machines installed and the growth of the daily average collection per machine, which was an increase of 9.8% compared to the first quarter of 2007, have been clue factors in this positive progression.
In Mexico, Codere Group business' has experimented an important growth. The collection reached 50.3 million euros in the first semester 2008, which means an increment of 77.7% regarding the first quarter of the previous year. This increment is related to the larger number of TEBs installed, added to the 18,366 units, a 65% more than the same period the previous year, and the proportional consolidation of ICELA, which includes the contribution of new business such as Las Américas horse race track and Banamex convention center.
In Panama, a collection of 10.3 million euros has been achieved, associated to the expansion of the number of machines in casinos and the opening of a gambling hall in horse race-track Presidente Remón in the second semester 2007. In Italy, the consolidation of indirect machine operators and the contribution of Codere Network increased the incomes in 5.1 million euros compared to the same period last year. The positive evolution of bingos in Italy has been boosted by the introduction of recreational machines in bingo halls and the income in this area reached 24.1 million euros in the first quarter 2008..
In January 2008, Codere Group was awarded as “Best Bingo Operator” in the International Gaming Awards held in the city of London. During the first quarter 2008, Codere completed the sale of the direct business of recreational machines in Italy and started the restructuring of the division of the operation of recreational machines in the country. The effect of these operations in the results of the first quarter 2008 is of 3 million euros of the sale and a provision for restructuring costs of 3 million euros.