Bwin.party 2012 profit hit by German tax

LONDON Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:33am GMT

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LONDON (Reuters) - Bwin.party Digital Entertainment (BPTY.L) posted a 17 percent fall in 2012 profit, hit by a new gaming tax in its core German market, and said 2013 revenue would be dented as it shifts its focus to regulated markets.

The world's largest listed online gaming group on Friday reported 2012 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) of 164.9 million euros (141 million pounds), down from 199.3 million euros a year earlier.

The company was expected to report an average 2012 EBITDA of 157.76 million euros, according to a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S poll of 11 analysts.

The introduction of a 5 percent turnover tax on sports betting in Germany which came into effect last July hit revenues, which fell 2 percent to 801.6 million euros, after the amount wagered on sports betting was hit by Bwin.party removing short-odds bets.

Year-on-year sports betting and casino revenues were largely flat. However, revenue declined in poker and bingo, hit by continued pressure on consumer spending, particularly in parts of southern Europe.

The company, formed by the 2011 merger of PartyGaming and Bwin Interactive Entertainment, said current trading had been impacted by its shift of focus to nationally regulated markets.

It added that it now expects 2013 revenue to be slightly lower than current market estimates, but that the impact on profits would be offset by cost savings.

Bwin.party increased the total dividend by 10 percent to 3.44 pence per share.

Shares in Bwin.party, which have risen a third in the last three months, closed at 151.5 pence on Thursday, valuing the group at around 1.2 billion pounds.

(Reporting by Rhys Jones, Editing by Brenda Goh)

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