Netplay ready for first dividend as advertising gamble pays off

TELEVISION gambling company Netplay said yesterday it had seen a huge rise in profits thanks to a 51 per cent increase in player numbers following a large advertising campaign on ITV.

Netplay, which runs an interactive freeview gaming channel, also announced its first dividend after saying recent activity had picked up. The firm said pre-tax profit had increased fivefold in the first half of the year compared with the same period last year to £1.61m and sales had risen by a third to £13m.

The news pushed Netplay’s shares up more than 20 per cent as analysts praised the company’s performance. “The business has strong momentum and a genuine unique selling point in a sector lacking differentiation,” Singer Capital’s Johnathan Barratt said.

Netplay’s chief executive Charles Butler said: “The company has had a strong start to 2012 and expects year end earnings to be ahead of expectations.” He added that the second half of the year had seen daily revenue up 28 per cent.

Butler said the announcement of a 15p per share dividend was a “demonstration of the Board’s confidence in NetPlay’s business model”.