Amaya brings in 2.5m more players during ‘challenging’ quarter

Amaya brings in 2.5m more players during ‘challenging’ quarter

Tuesday, May 17, 2016 Totally Gaming
Rafi Ashkenazi said the company executed its growth plans during Q1

Amaya’s interim chief executive Rafi Ashkenazi said the company was pleased with its first-quarter performance amid “unexpected challenges”, despite narrowly failing to meet analyst forecasts.

In a trading update for the three months to March 31, the owner of PokerStars said that revenue was up six per cent year-on-year to $288.7m (€254.8m), which was just below the figure of $293.6m from a consensus of Wall Street analysts.

Adjusted operating profit was up eight per cent year-on-year to $123.4m, with net earnings from continuing operations rising by 139 per cent to $55.5m and adjusted net earnings also up 26 per cent to $85m. Customer registrations were up by 2.5 million to approximately 102 million by the end of the quarter, while Amaya said that it has been able to start the second quarter in a positive fashion, with revenue for the month of April up 11 per cent year-on-year to $96m.

While there were highlights during the first quarter of 2016, such as the launching of PokerStars in New Jersey, the period included the announcement that chief executive and chairman David Baazov and other leading executives were considering a takeover of the company. Baazov was then forced to take an indefinite leave of absence after Quebec’s Securities Regulatory Authority (AMF) charged him on five counts of fraudulent activities relating to Amaya’s acquisition of Rational Group in 2014. Baazov denies all charges.

“During the first quarter, we continued to execute on our growth plans despite unexpected challenges, including management changes and the ongoing strategic alternatives process,” Ashkenazi said. “We attracted new customers to PokerStars, continued to introduce changes to improve the overall poker experience, expanded our online casino offering and continued to invest in our emerging online sportsbook.”

TotallyGaming.com says: “In a quarter that perhaps threw up more drama and intrigue than the greatest game to ever take place on its PokerStars website, Amaya came out with positive figures – including the addition of yet another 2.5 million customers - and has assured investors that growth has continued in the subsequent period.”

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