Bwin.party earnings hit by higher tax, poker woes
LONDON (Reuters) - Bwin.party digital (BPTY.L), the world's biggest listed online gaming company, reported a 21 percent decline in first half earnings, hit by higher gaming taxes, stronger competition in poker and tough comparisons due to last year's soccer World Cup.
Bwin.party, formed by the merger of Austria's Bwin and PartyGaming earlier this year, said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell to 81.9 million
euro (72.4 million pounds).
That was ahead of the average forecast standing at 75.7 million euros, according to a poll of seven analysts supplied by the company.
Bwin.party said its performance had been strong so far in the second half following the suspension of rival Full Tilt's European poker licenses.
"We remain confident about the group's prospects for the rest of the year and beyond," it said on Wednesday.
Market expectations for full year EBITDA range between 173.3 million euros and 190.4 million euros, with the average forecast standing at 179.3 million euros, according to a company-supplied poll of 11 analysts.
Shares in Bwin.party, which have lost half their value since the start of the year owing to regulatory uncertainty, closed on Tuesday at 110 pence, valuing the business at 870 million pounds.
Bwin.party said it had lifted its target for annual cost savings to 65 million euros from 55 million at the time of the merger.
(Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by Rhys Jones)
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