Sportingbet's profits surge

ONLINE gaming firm Sportingbet yesterday posted a surge in full year pre-tax profit, suggesting it has weathered an economic storm that threatened to destroy it.<br /><br />The group also said it would reinstate its dividend of 1p and unveiled plans to move to a full listing on the main market of the London Stock Exchange.<br /><br />Sportingbet unveiled a leap in profits to &pound;22.3m from &pound;1.2m last year thanks to a 13 per cent lift in revenues to &pound;163.6m.<br /><br />Analysts were expecting the company to post a full-year pretax profit of &pound;29.1m on revenues of &pound;166m, according to a poll byReuters.<br /><br />Group chief executive Andrew McIver said: &ldquo;We are now seeing consistent profitable growth resulting from the structural changes made following our withdrawal from the US.&rdquo;<br /><br />He added the group had managed to grow by diversifying geographically.<br /><br />Sportingbet said its talks with the US Department of Justice over financial settlements to avoid prosecution for taking online bets from US customers were ongoing, but that there was little visibility over timing or conclusion.<br /><br />Rival firm Partygaming earlier in the year agreed on a &pound;105m out-of-court settlement with the Department of Justice.<br /><br />Sportingbet started its journey as a listed firm on the old Ofex market ten years ago. It then moved up to Aim in 2001 but is now expected to be promoted to a full listing early next year.<br /><br />The group&rsquo;s share price rocketed yesterday by eight per cent to close at 73.5p.