Online gaming firm Betfair intends to grow more aggressively in Europe

Online betting and gaming services firm Betfair has reported strong earnings growth for the first half of its financial year, adding that it intends to grow more aggressively in the US and mainland Europe.

The London-based firm — which employs more than 100,000 people in its Irish operations — yesterday reported revenues of £188 million (€227m) for the six months to the end of October; down by 6% on a year-on-year basis.

However, underlying pre-tax profits rose 56%, on a year-on-year basis, to £32.5m, with EBITDA up 16% to £48.9m. There was a 51% annualised increase in underlying basic earnings per share to 26.2p and an interim dividend of 6p — 50% higher than at the same stage last year — has been recommended by the board.

Chief executive, Breon Corcoran, said: “We continue to see evidence that our Exchange and Sportsbook products are complementary, with 38% of sports betting customers using both products. This overlap is set to increase in the coming months following innovative developments to our bet matching technology.

“Following cost reductions in the past 12 months we now operate as a leaner and fitter business, which means we can reinvest to generate revenue growth.”

Customer levels increased by 63%, year-on-year, in Betfair’s core UK/Ireland operations during the first half. On a group-wide basis, management is targeting underlying EBITDA of between £82m and £87m for the 12 months to the end of next April. This would be up from £73.3m last year.

In terms of international expansion, the company is targeting further expansion in the US and Italy.

It has recently launched an online casino site in New Jersey and is in the midst of establishing a betting exchange service in the Italian market; the start-up losses associated with these investments likely to be between £5m and £10m in the second half of Betfair’s current financial year.


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