Strong 2015 for Playtech but UK tax hits profits

Playtech saw double-digit growth in revenues and adjusted earnings in 2015, although a “one-off” adjustment related to new UK tax rules led to a slight dip in profits.

The gaming software and services company, in its preliminary results, said that revenues grew by 38% to €630.1 million ($694.3m) during the 12 months through to December 31, while adjusted earnings were up 22% to €251.9 million.

However, while the UK’s Point of Consumption tax weighed on pre-tax profits, which declined by 1% to €142 million, the company was boosted by “strong underlying performance” from its gaming division.

Alan Jackson, Playtech’s chairman, said: “Whilst 2015 was an incredibly busy year for Playtech, our operational performance was stronger than ever, delivering reported revenues up 38% and up 26% on an underlying basis.

“The gaming division continues to lead the industry and drive our growth. Our pipeline of opportunities continues to be very strong and we expect significant wins in 2016, led by our pioneering omni-channel offering and driven by existing and newly regulated markets.”

The company added that average daily revenue in the gaming division for the first 53 days of Q1 of 2016 was up over 12% on the first quarter of 2015, and up over two per cent on Q4 of 2015.

Despite the company abandoning attempts to buy Plus500 and Ava Trade towards the end of 2015, and a slight drop in its financial division’s revenues in the final quarter of the year, Playtech – which has been linked with a move for OpenBet – said it will continue to look at new acquisitions during 2016.

Jackson added: “Our newly created financials division is developing well and we have further improved its business model.

“We have many opportunities for further growth, both organically and through M&A, with active discussions on a number of potential acquisitions in the Gaming division.

“Should suitable acquisitions not be available, consideration will be given to returning cash to shareholders as we look to maintain an efficient capital structure.”

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