Sportech reports a solid annual performance

The London listed online sports betting group Sportech plc has released its full year results for the period ended December 31 2013, reporting good progress on its strategic goals, with growing momentum in its US enterprise.

Financial highlights in the report include:

* Revenue up at GBP 110.3 million (FY 2012: GBP 107.7m)

* EBITDA increased to GBP 26 million (FY 2012: GBP 25.2 million)

* Sportech Racing and Digital up 40 percent; Sportech Venues up 2 percent, but Football Pools down 7 percent

* Adjusted profit before tax of GBP 14.5 million (FY 2012: GBP 14.9 million)

* Statutory profit before tax of GBP 5.2 million (FY 2012: GBP 1.3 million)

* Net bank debt up at GBP 63.4 million (FY 2012: GBP 57.1 million)

* Capital investment and acquisition spend of GBP 22 million during the year

* First-tier Tribunal found in favour of Sportech in respect of GBP 95 million VAT claim in March 2013. However, HMRC has appealed to Upper Tribunal and the case will be heard on 29 and 30 April 2014.

Operational highlights included:

* The disposal of the loss-making UK e-Gaming business, allowing the company to refocused management and finalise a new divisional structure.

* Sportech Racing and Digital – major contracts secured and digital products successfully brought to market, including:

New contracts signed with major gaming businesses in the US, Denmark and UK

New mobile and online products launched

European operations strengthened through the acquisition of Data Tote

Integration of eBet complete with synergies realised

Formed joint ventures with NYX and Picklive to supply online gaming and fantasy sports games

* The company reports that Sportech Venues is well positioned for growth as a multi-platform operator which has:

Opened flagship sports bar, restaurant and betting venue in Bradley, Connecticut

Launched exclusive online horserace betting platform for Connecticut customers

Signed development agreement to roll-out an estate of branded sports bars and betting venues in California

* Football Pools lagged, but there has been continued progress in migration to a new platform and:

There has been an increase in spend per head, partially offsetting forecast player number decline

Successful new player recruitment through direct marketing offset by overall player decline

Sportech CEO Ian Penrose said:

“The Group has delivered a good set of results in a transformational year. We have strengthened the management team and Board, invested cash of GBP 22 million in the Group and completed a number of corporate transactions to increase our focus and operational capabilities.

“Our US-based businesses now account for 60 percent of Group revenues, and we are particularly pleased with their strong profit growth, driven primarily by the technological investment in our core Racing and Digital business.

“Since the turn of the year, we have launched Connecticut’s only legal website for betting on horseracing and augmented our retail estate by opening a 10,000 sq ft innovative sports bar and betting venue in Connecticut. The first in a chain of similar venues is to be opened in California later this year.

“We remain well positioned for future growth in the US market and, with the strong cash flows from our Football Pools business, we have entered 2014 with confidence.”

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