888 Earnings Ahead Of Forecast

888 Earnings Ahead Of ForecastUK online gaming business 888 Holdings Plc has made an announcement recently stating that the company expects its profit for 2011 to be ahead of market expectations.
Making the statement from its Gibraltar base, 888 said its performance in November and December had been ‘very strong especially in casino and poker,’ which then prompted analysts to update their earnings predictions from $35 million to $51 million.
The company’s strong trading reflected the situation in the UK economy, which has recessionary worries, leading to more Brits staying in, watching television and gambling online.
Looking ahead, the operator of casino, poker, sport and bingo brands said it intends to invest more heavily in newly-regulated countries within the vast EU market, worth around €80 billion last year.
Nonetheless, 888 warned that it would thus be necessary to increase its advertising and marketing expenditure in order to realise its European strategic goals, with an 888 update stating:
“The group intends to invest in these markets in order to establish and build market share. This significant strategic investment, along with the increases in gaming duty, will have an impact on the group’s profit expectations. However, the board still expects results for the year ending December 31, 2012 to be slightly ahead of current market expectations.”
Despite the announcement, the market largely failed to react to the company’s excellent trading performance with shares in 888 rising only slightly by  1.5p to 36.75p. However, Ivor Jones of Numis said he believed that may not last, and stated:
“The share price has remained resolutely unimpressed by 888’s excellent run of trading. That may change today.”
888 shares have had a rocky time this year, and started 2011 at 65.25p before dropping nearly half their value to their present level. 888 Holdings Plc  currently has a Market Cap of £127.38 million.

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