Sportingbet report loss

The online gaming group Sportingbet have reported a first-quarter loss of £241 million, after taking a one off charge of £252.4 million resulting from their decision to quit the U.S market.

However, shares in Sportingbet rose by 3.7 percent after showing strong growth in its European and Australian operations. Gross profit also rose by 48 percent to £31.7 million in the three months to October 31.

"On all metrics, Sportingbet has made strong progress, and the decrease in liquidity for the Paradise Poker business has not impacted volumes as adversely as had previously been feared," said Altium Securities analyst Wayne Brown.

After the September arrest of its chairman, Peter Dicks, Sportingbet are still wary about how the U.S authorities view their companies past operations and still have a ban in place preventing any directors visiting the country.

"We still have a travel ban on any director going to the United States," said Chief Executive Andy McIver. "It's very hard to find out what issues individual states have with you."

As with many other online operators who are looking to consolidate after the U.S legislation, Sportingbet are looking into the possibility of mergers and acquisitions but nothing concrete has materialised as yet.

"On mergers and acquisitions, we will definitely look at opportunities," said McIver. "We have talked to people, and people have talked to us, but I think that's people wanting a group hug more than anything else."

After all the losses had been calculated, Sportingbet revealed that it had £52 million cash at the end of the quarter.

Editor, - 2006-11-30 11:35:03

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