t blamed competitive pressures in poker, the closure of its French casino and the strong comparative figures because of the 2010 FIFA world cup.
Since the end of the half, the company said it had turned in a strong performance, helped by the suspension of rival Full Tilt's gaming licence in June. It confirmed a 15 million euros half year dividend and a proposed 75 million euros share buyback programme. Recently the company has also been the subject of renewed takeover talk. Analysts at Collins Stewart said:
“The stock has been a particularly weak performer in 2011, reflecting heightened regulatory risk perception following the publication of onerous draft online gaming laws in Germany. The shares are on a 2011 enterprise value/earnings of around 4.5 times, which looks cheap, and while visibility for 2012 is particularly poor, we view a decline in 2012 profits as highly unlikely. The resumption of the 75 million euros share buy back programme should be helpful and while we expect to nudge down our target price to reflect 2012 downgrades, we see plenty of upside for the shares, given potential consolidation attractions.”
Elsewhere James Hollins at Evolution Securities said: “Despite ongoing caution on German regulatory changes, we feel the shares now sufficiently discount potential negative news in Germany and, with an unchanged target price, we move from neutral to add.”