At today’s Annual General Meeting of betinternet, the Chairman, Mr Denham Eke, made the following statement regarding the Company’s current trading position:
“Shareholders will be aware following the recent publication of our Report and Accounts that a number of major strategic initiatives are underway.
I am delighted to inform shareholders that the necessary funding to underpin these initiatives has now been secured following approval by shareholders this morning of a placement to our major shareholder, Burnbrae Limited, for £1.6 million less costs associated with the issue.
I am also pleased to report that the strategic issues are proceeding according to plan and in line with our anticipated timetable.
Specifically the new sportsbook platform which is being developed in partnership with IGW, a Florida based company with particular expertise in developing software for the US market, is on target to be functioning in advance of the 2006 Soccer World Cup Tournament.
Arrangements are also proceeding in parallel to launch the new software from servers in Curacao. As previously reported this will allow us to target the vast US market with a comprehensive sports, casino and games offering.
The fundraising will also provide resource for a targeted marketing campaign towards potential new players from the USA and our core markets in the Far East and Europe.
Our pari mutuel business, European Wagering Services Limited (‘EWS’), has made steady progress in the current period. This follows the well documented issues it faced last year which resulted in our decision to cease offering incentives to certain high wagering US punters. Accordingly, the turnover from this activity will be significantly less than was the case in the corresponding period last year. Nevertheless by concentrating on higher margin opportunities EWS is expected to make a modest contribution before interest and depreciation.
Activity in the sportsbook division mirrors the period to May 2005. Wagering on sporting events will be less than for the comparable period last year as it was felt imprudent to undertake significant marketing expenditure in advance of the new platform launch which I refer to above.
We continue to be pleased with the turnover from the live casino and games which, in the period to end of November 2005, will have exceeded that from sports events.
The company anticipates announcing its interim results for the 26 weeks to 27th November 2005 in early March. In view of the reduction in wagering on sports events mentioned above these are likely to record an operating loss after attributable overheads.
The Board is however looking towards the future with considerable confidence. I believe that the results of the strategic initiatives mentioned earlier, designed to create a compelling and exciting one stop gaming and entertainment platform, will lead to significantly improved financial results.”