he Net Benefit, that has reached 700 thousand euros with regards to 11.9 million of the first semester last year, has felt the restructuration effect of Codere activity in Italy, the release of a new business in Spain, sportsbooks and the appreciation of the euro compared to the dollar.
Codere increased its activity compared to the first semester of 2007 with the incorporation of 6,827 new gaming terminals (a total of 53,575 units), 9 bingo halls (totaling 133) and 12 betting centers ( totaling 68). On top of that, it has acquired the share of the main minority shareholder in its business in Argentina for us$ 36.3 million.
Together with its partner William Hill, the firm becomes the first authorized company that started operating sportsbooks in Spain in April.
During the first half of 2008, collection reached 503.9 million euros, a 20.7% more than in the same period in 2007. Gross Operating Benefit (EBITDA) has been of 120 million euros in the first half of the year, which represents an increment of 15.9% compared to the same period last year.
Net Benefit of the first semester 2008 has been of 0.7 million euros, compared to 11.9 million in 2007, mainly due to the loss of 9.5 million of activities interrupted in Italy (Machines and Sportsbooks), initial loss for the release of the sportsbook business in Spain and the effects of the appreciation of the euro compared to the dollar. Investments of the group reached 58.1 million euros between January and June.
Key elements to obtain these results have been the increment of income in Mexico, connected to the growth of electronic bingo terminals installed and the proportional consolidation of ICELA. Besides, the increment in average daily collection in Argentina and the growth of the machine collection in Spain, have contributed to reach positive results in this first semester of 2008.
In Argentina, collection increased a 12.6% regarding the first semestre of 2007, and reached 160.4 million euros, as a consequence of the increment of the average daily collection per machine, which was a 29.8% superior with regards to the previous period (in average currency). EBITDA increased to 51.7 million euros, a 10.9% more than in the same period last year.
In Mexico, Grupo Codere business has experienced an important growth. Collection reached 110.7 million euros in this period, which means an increase of 91.2% regarding the first half 2007.
Of the rest of operations in other countries, there was a remarkable growth in Italy due to the increment of income of machines, up to 21.4 million euros in the first six months of the current year, due to the consolidation of indirect machine operators and a better contribution of Codere Network, as well as to the positive evolution of Bingos Italia, with an increase of 6% in income regarding 2007.
Results of Codere Group show the continuous growth strategy in its main markets, particularily in Mexico and Argentina, which maintain a positive evolution in this firsty half 2008.