Sportech plc off the market

News on 14 Mar 2018

Sportech PLC has closed the Formal Sale Process (FSP) it initiated late last year as a result of a strategic review and has appointed Andrew Gaughan as Chief Executive Officer.

Gaughan joined Sportech in 2010 following the acquisition of Scientific Games Racing, and was appointed to the Board in January 2017.

He is based in Toronto, where certain Group business operations are situated.  Gaughan is a qualified lawyer and is well known to the Group’s customers and staff and has more than 25 years’ experience in the gaming, technology and horseracing industry having served in senior positions with other leading international gaming companies.

In addition, the company has embarked on a recruitment drive for a Group Chief Financial Officer who will be based in North America. Richard Cooper, a Non-Executive Director of Sportech, will continue to provide financial oversight to the Group, in the meantime.

Sportech confirmed it had held discussions with interested parties during the course of the FSP, but  concluded they were unlikely to result in an offer for all or a material part of the Group that would be acceptable to shareholders.

The Strategic Review concludes that Sportech has “significant potential for long-term value creation through: growing its core businesses; diversification; and benefitting from the possible liberalisation of sports betting in a number of states in the US.”

Sportech expects 2017 adjusted EBITDA to be below expectation at around GBP 6.5 million due to a series of account corrections identified in the strategic review which include  write-downs of old stocks and “doubtful” debtors.  In addition, the impact of the departure of former board members and senior management, restructuring costs and the sale of NYX shares, had a negative impact totalling GBP 8 million, offset by GBP 1.4 million of additional net income from the “Spot The Ball” dispute,” the company said.

In a trading update, the company said the first ten weeks had proven fairly challenging due to weather related issues, but that this had been offset by the Racing and Digital business which secured several, new long-term contracts.

In related news, Sportech’s Racing and Digital arm has connected another new European commingling customer to horse race betting pools through its Sportech’s Quantum Data and Operations Centre in Europe.

The new agreement with Norsk Rikstoto, a foundation that supervises pari-mutuel betting on horse racing in Norway, will enable the operator to offer their racing product to operators outside of Norway through commingling, and to commingle bets from their players into pools offered by racing operators from around the world.

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