he firm said profits rose 94% to us$ 55.6 million boosted by strong growth in its casino and poker operations
Brian Mattingley will replace Gigi Levy who stepped down in April amid - subsequently abandoned - takeover talks with Ladbrokes. It has made a successful launch in Italy and has linked up with Caesars to develop its US online strategy. It can begin trading in the US as soon as federal or state regulation is finalised and licences are given out.
Mattingley said the company had begun 2012 strongly, with growth ahead of the strong final quarter of last year. Simon Davies at Canaccord Genuity said: “888 has delivered a remarkable turnaround. In a difficult year for the sector, 888 reported 26% growth in revenues to us$ 331 million and 94% growth in earnings.”
One year ago, 888 was facing crisis point. Its Poker network lacked critical mass, it was impacted by regulation in France and reduced cash balances raised questions about its ability to pay the deferred earn-out for Wink Bingo. Brian Mattingley, the acting (and now permanent) CEO has overseen the hugely successful relaunch of Poker 6, a pick up in new active customers and launch into Italy. And year end net cash of us$ 37 million means it can comfortably meet the final us$ 37 million payments for Wink in 2012.
In addition, the announcement at the budget that UK online gaming tax is unlikely to be introduced until December 2014 (and possibly later), is a “definite positive.”