Party Poker and Foxy Bingo owner GVC Holdings' stock closed up 6.6 per cent today as the gambling group posted record half-year results and said the integration of Bwin was ahead of schedule.
Pro forma net gaming revenue increased eight per cent to €441.8m (£339m) in the six months to 30 June, driven by GVC brands, faster-than-expected growth from Bwin brands and a return to growth for poker site Party Poker.
Statutory profit before tax at the firm, which joined the FTSE 250 yesterday, increased by 135 per cent to €51.3m.
GVC said its full-year earnings will be at the "upper end" of expectations and that it will resume dividend payments in 2017.
The company's stock closed up 6.6 per cent to 769p.
Why it's interesting
GVC is expecting to reap the projected €125m of annual synergies as a result of the £1.1bn takeover of Bwin in February by the end of next year.
In the first half, the group also successfully refinanced tricky debt – saving it €43m a year – and confirmed its New Jersey gaming licence.
Chief executive Kenneth Alexander told City A.M. GVC has experienced "zero impact" on the business as a result of June's Brexit vote.
He said the main reason the company is standing out in the market is the "powerful brands that we've got", with Bwin the leading European sports gambling brand, Party Poker as the biggest sporting brand, as well as groups such as Foxy Bingo and Sportingbet.
While the company would consider further acquisitions if an opportunity emerged, Alexander said the group's priority would be to "focus on the good work we've got with Bwin".
"We are looking to grow organically and are not particularly active in looking elsewhere," Alexander said.
In a separate announcement today, the group said its chief financial officer, Richard Cooper, will step down from his role in February 2017 to pursue "private business interests".
He will be replaced by Wonga's current chief financial officer, Paul Miles.
What GVC said
I am delighted to report another period of significant growth. It is GVC's combination of hardworking, talented people and unique proprietary technology platform that has allowed us to achieve so much in such a short period.
The group operates in a highly competitive, increasingly regulated and taxed environment, GVC has never been better placed to face these challenges. Indeed, we believe the organic growth potential of the group is now greater than originally anticipated at the time of the Bwin.party transaction acquisition.