he group reported adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of 45.3 million euros (us$ 64.7 million) on Thursday on total revenue of 56.7 million euros, up 9.8 %.
CEO Mor Weizer said the underlying business was resilient and performing strongly despite a "challenging" economic backdrop, and it had completed key parts of the integration of William Hill's online business.
The company warned in July the joint-venture - it has held a 29 % stake in the bookmaker's online betting operations since October 2008 - was not progressing as well as expected, sending its shares down as much as 30 %. "We remain firm believers in William Hill online and there are already some encouraging signs, including a big increase in the number of players," he said in an interview.
Trading in July and August showed the usual seasonality as customers took holidays, Weizer said, but revenue was still 1.4 % ahead of the same period in 2008. Shares in the group, which have gained 15 % since reaching a 18-month low of 290 pence in July, were up 2 % up at 339.5 pence by 0841 GMT.
Analysts at Daniel Stewart said the first-half results were marginally ahead of their expectations, and they supported their full-year EBITDA forecast of 92.3 million euros. "We view the marginal uplift in current trading, key new licensee wins (including one announced today in Eastern Europe) and a 'strong pipeline' of clients as solidly underpinning our bottom of consensus estimates," they said in a note.
Weizer said the group's diversified customer base, including 70 licensees, and a leading position in regulated markets such as Italy, France and Spain, positioned it to benefit from an economic recovery.
CFO Shuki Barak said the company would see an uptick in September, boosted by contracts with Betfair and NetPlay TV and he was confident of further progress in the fourth quarter. "We are comfortable with analyst consensus of 95 million euros of adjusted EBITDA for the year," he said.