888 expects top-end EBITDA

By Gareth Bracken
888 anticipates adjusted EBITDA of around $78m for the second half of the year.

A trading update from the online operator said the H2 figure was expected to sit "at the top end of the range" of analysts' forecasts, which currently stand at $69m - $78m.

The firm described its performance for the period as "very encouraging" and "in line with the board's expectations" – driven by casino and sport in particular.

Executive chairman Brian Mattingley said: "Underpinned by our quality brands, leading technology and CRM expertise, 888 remains very well positioned to deliver long-term sustainable growth."

Vaughan Lewis, analyst at Morgan Stanley, which has left its $78m estimate unchanged, said: "We continue to believe that 888 is well placed in a consolidating industry.

"We believe 888’s leading proprietary technology and limited reliance on third-party suppliers means it does not suffer from platform capacity constraints, product and content differentiation and slow speed to market.

"This allows it to focus on the improvement of its core product offering and growth of market share, and avoid customer transition disruption, which we believe is affecting some of the other UK operators."

888 reported H1 2015 adjusted EBITDA of $40.9m, with revenue of £225.1m and adjusted profit before tax of $30.5m.

Profit before tax stood at $20m for the first half of the year.
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