Amaya Gaming posts record Q3 results after PokerStars acquisition

MONTREAL – Amaya Gaming’s shift into a global online poker powerhouse has begun with the company posting record results in the third quarter just two months following the US$4.9 billion acquisition of PokerStars and other online games.

The Montreal-based company (TSX:AYA) beat expectations as its adjusted profit increased 10-fold to nearly $70 million, or 43 cents per share for the period ended Sept. 30. That compared to $6.8 million or seven cents per share a year earlier.

Revenues were $239 million, up from $38.6 million a year earlier.

Including one-time items such as $12.1 million in acquisition-related costs and a $9 million impairment charge, Amaya lost $17.6 million, compared to a $3.5 million loss a year earlier.

Analysts had expected Amaya to earn 15 cents per share in adjusted profits on $232.7 million of revenues according to Thomson Reuters.

“These results illustrate how transformative the acquisition is for the company and the enormous platform for growth the business provides,” chairman and CEO David Baazov said during a conference call.

Online gaming accounted for about 87 per cent of overall revenues, with 53 per cent sales coming from countries in the European Union and 46 per cent from the Americas. Before the purchase, 77 per cent of Amaya’s revenues came from the Americas.

The company is proceeding to increase the online shift by looking to sell video slot machine subsidiary Cadillac Jack Inc. and announced on Friday an agreement to sell Ongame poker to NYX Gaming Group Ltd.

Amaya’s online business can handle 600,000 simultaneous players in almost 30 languages and has a database of more than 85 million registered players.

Since PokerStars was launched in 2001, more than 115 billion hands have been dealt. It operates 11 online gaming licences in markets such as France, Spain and Italy.

Amaya expects to grow as more jurisdictions around the world, including the U.S., regulate online gaming and the company adds casino, sportsbetting and social gaming which together have an global market potential worth an estimated US$25 billion.

“We anticipate the continued rollout of casino and the launch of sportsbook will help attract new players and reactivate players while resulting in strong profitable growth in 2016 and beyond,” Baazov told analysts.

During the third quarter, revenue from the acquired Oldfield Group increased eight per cent while EBITDA was up 19 per cent.

Amaya’s adjusted pre-tax operating earnings (EBITDA) were $103.4 million, compared to $18.24 million in the prior year.

The company said it expects results will be even stronger in the busier fourth quarter, driving full-year revenues to the high end, in the range of $669 million to $715 million, and adjusted EBITDA of $265 million to $285 million.

Amaya was added to the S&P/TSX composite index in September, about four years after going public, joining Canada’s largest businesses on the 250-company index. It is also preparing to add a listing either on the London or New York stock exchanges by October 2015.

In addition to Cadillac Jack, Amaya is the owner of the Rational Group, which owns and operates PokerStars, Full Tilt, the European Poker Tour, PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, Latin American Poker Tour and the Asia Pacific Poker Tour.

On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Amaya’s shares closed at $35.50, up 66 cents or 1.89 per cent in Friday trading.

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