ollection during 2008 reached 1,054.3 million euros, a 19.8% more than 2007. Gross Benefit of Operation (EBITDA) has been 234.7 million euros in 2008, which represents an increment of 17.2% compared to last year. This important business growth has been produced in a context of sustained appreciation of the euro compared to local currencies and a decrease in investments.
Despite the positive evolution of the main markets, Codere reports a net loss of 10.6 million euros during 2008, as a consequence of the deterioration of assets of Bingos Italia, the loss of 9.5 million of the activities suspended in Italy (direct management and sportsbooks), the release of the sportsbook business in Spain and the effects of the euro appreciation compared to local currencies.
The optimization and efficiency in the use of resources has allowed that, in spite of the total investments made during 2008, reached 141.3 million euros, a 52.2% less than in 2007, has achieved an EBITDA in 2008 that was within the plans.
A solid evolution was performed in Argentina, were the activity of Codere Group keeps on growing, achieving a collection of 352.5 million euros in 2008, a 17.9% more than in 2007. An increment on the average daily collection per machine has been produced as a result of the installation of TITO (ticket in – ticket out) System in gaming terminals. In 2008, EBITDA increased to 110 million euros, which means an increment of 11.7% with regards to the previous year.
In Mexico, collection grew a 60.6%, to 232.8 million euros in 2008, due to the increment in the number of the terminals of electronic bingos (21.2% with regards to the previous year) and ICELA consolidation. EBITDA increased a 19.2% with regards to 2007, reaching 69 million euros.
In Spain, collection in the area of recreational machines grew a 2.2% during 2008, reaching 208.6 million euros, reflecting the increment in recreational machines installed (15,963 in 2008, a 3.4% more than in 2007).
The economic decrease in the Spanish market has been offset by the growth in Mexico and Argentina and the reduction of loss in other operations, including machines in Italy, Brazil and Colombia. In January 2008, Codere Group was awarded as “Best Bingo Operator” at International Gaming Awards held in London.
Codere Group, together with its partner William Hill, became in 2008 the first authorized company that started the sportsbook operation in Spain under Victoria brand and operates in the two exclusive autonomous communities that are regulated: Madrid and the Basque Country.