888 boosts dividend 25%, citing strong annual results

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Online gaming company 888 boosted its dividend after what it said was a “fantastic” year in 2016, as the group recorded higher than expected revenues and an 82 per cent leap in pre-tax profit.

Revenues at the FTSE 250-listed company were $520.8m in 2016, ahead of expectations of $509m according to analysts polled by Bloomberg. That marked a 13 per cent rise from the previous year – or 18 per cent in constant currency terms.

Profit before tax rose to $59.2m, while adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose to $90.2m – a 12 per cent rise and a 24 per rise in constant currency terms compared to 2015.

The company said it would raise its dividend in light of what it said were outstanding results for 2016, with a final dividend of 5.1 cents per share plus a one-off 10.5 cents per share, bringing the total dividend to 19.4 cents per share for 2016 – a 25 per cent increase from 2015.

Itai Frieberger, chief executive of 888, said:

2016 was another fantastic year for 888 during which we continued to deliver very strong organic revenue and profit growth. This was again underpinned by further outstanding progress in Casino, Sport and across regulated markets. 888′s further expansion in the UK, Spain and Italy is a strong demonstration of the Group’s ability to drive excellent growth and build leading market positions across regulated markets as the industry continues to head in this direction.

These strong results demonstrate the truly outstanding underlying momentum in the business.

Offering a trading update, he added:

Current trading since the start of the year remains healthy with average daily revenue more than 11% above the previous year at constant currency.

The Board continues to see a number of significant growth opportunities for 888 both in new and existing markets and we look forward to another exciting year of progress.

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