he collection under this period achieved 243.6 million euros, a 18.8% more than in the same period 2007.
EBITDA has been 61.8 million euros in the first quarter 2008, which represent a 21.9% increment with regards to the same period last year. The Net Benefit has been 1.1 million euros, compared to the 9.3 million of the same period in 2007, mainly due to the charges on the organization of the business in Italy, previously announces, and the differences of the currency exchange. Codere returns to obtain benefits in 2008, compared to a negative result in 2007.
The key elements to obtain these results have been an increment of the business volume in Mexico, connected to the growth of electronic bingo terminals installed and the consolidation of ICELA, the operational improvements of the gambling business terminals in Argentina and the growth in the number of machines in Spain.
In Spain, the collection in the area of recreational machines grew a 5.7% in the first quarter 2008, reaching 53.5 million euros. The number of 15,700 machines installed has been exceded. EBITDA grew a 2.8% with regards to the same period last year, in 18.4 million euros.
In Argentina, collection increased a 14.2% regarding the first quarter 2007, reaching 80.5 million euros. The growth of the recreational machines installed and an increment in the average daily collection per machine grew a 9.8% compared to the first quarter 2007, which have been the key factors in this positive progression. EBITDA increased to 27.2 million euros, a 18.3% more that the same quarter last year.
In Mexico, the business of Codere Group experimented an important growth. Collection reached 50.3 million euros in the first quarter 2008, which means an increment of 77.7% regarding the first quarter last year. EBITDA increased a 63.8%, reaching 21.3 million euros in the first quarter 2008.
Of the rest of the operations in other countries, it is remarkable the growth of Panama, where it has reached a collection of 10.3 million euros associated to the extension of the group of machines in casinos and the opening of a gambling venue in the horse race track Presidente Remón in the second quarter 2007. In Italy, the consolidation of indirect machine operators and the contribution of Codere Network have increased its income in 5.1 million euros regarding the same period on the previous year. The positive evolution of Bingos Italia has been strenghtened by the introduction of recreational machines in bingo halls and the income in this area reaches 24.1 million euros in the first quarter 2008.
In January 2008, Codere Group was awarded as “Best Bingo Operator” in International Gaming Awards 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 organization of the division of operation of recreational machines in that country. The effect of these operations in the results of the first quarter 2008 is 3 million euros of the sale and a provision for organization cost of 3 million euros.