Shareholders dismissed falling profits at gambling giant GVC Holdings this morning – despite a 39 per cent slide in profits off the back of GVC's acquisition of Bwin.
Net gaming revenue – income on punters' wagers minus payouts – climbed by 10 per cent to €248m (£193m) in the year to the end of December.
The total amount staked with GVC brands, which includes Sportingbet, jumped 15 per cent to €1.7bn.
Profits, however, slid to €25.5m from €41.3m as the group incurred exceptional one-off costs of €23m related to the purchase of Bwin.
Shares in GVC were up two per cent at 534p on Monday morning.
Why it's interesting
It's all about mergers in the gaming industry at the moment, as companies are putting all their chips on bigger and better outfits driving performance.
In the last year Paddy Power and Betfair have merged and Ladbrokes and Gala Coral are currently awaiting a Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) ruling on their plans for a £2.3bn tie-up.
GVC fought a bitter fight with rivals 888 to get their hands on Bwin.Party last year. The deal was agreed by shareholders at the end of 2015 and came into effect in February.
GVC reckons it can save around €125m a year by being part of a larger group. If that's the case, a one-off hit of €23m doesn't look so bad. With the gaming margin holding steady and revenues increasing, the company pointed to an exciting few years ahead.
What GVC said
"The group's performance across the year was excellent," said an unequivocal Les Feldman, chairman of GVC.
Kenneth Alexander, the chief executive, added:
GVC has had a momentous year. Not only has the company seen a fifth consecutive year of revenue and clean Ebitda growth but the completion of the Bwin acquisition in early 2016 affords us an opportunity to take the group to the next level.
GVC has never been in a stronger position going forward. The enlarged Group is already enjoying encouraging trading, resulting from our unique mix of diversified products and strong brands. There is much work to be done, nevertheless, with GVC brands and Bwin brands growing, together with synergy benefits, we look forward with confidence to another successful year.