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PartyGaming Confident for 2010, Focus on Italy & France

18th December 2009 8:52 am GMT

Despite falling revenues during the first nine months of the year, PartyGaming plc said Friday that total revenues for the 2009 financial year are expected to be in line with management expectations, with clean EBITDA to be slightly ahead of previous forecasts.

PartyGaming said that its business continued to perform well across the board during the fourth quarter of 2009, with a return to sequential net revenue growth across all four key product verticals, including poker.

PartyGaming said that returning poker to growth was a key focus for the company, with a number of initiatives introduced throughout the year now feeding through into both operational and financial performance, with increased player numbers and average net daily revenues versus the previous quarter, despite continued competition from US-facing sites and the difficult macroeconomic climate.

The online casino business also performed well on the back of new games launched on PartyCasino as well as higher jackpots, with the most recent Mega Gold jackpot paying out close to $5 million earlier this month.

Bingo continued to show substantial growth on the back of the Cashcade acquisition in July 2009, while gross win margin in sports betting benefited from a good run of sporting results and the introduction of improved risk management tools.

PartyGaming said that it believes the new regulations to be introduced in Italy and France in 2010 represented significant potential revenue opportunities for the company in the medium to long-term. Leveraging the company's scale and brand strength, PartyGaming said it plans to take full advantage of these opportunities through the launch of B2B services with strong local brands and also through its existing brands.

"Despite the challenges presented by the prevailing macroeconomic environment, we have not been distracted from the execution of our strategic plan," said Jim Ryan, PartyGaming's Chief Executive Officer."With the prospect of a number of new and large regulated markets in front of us, an expanding portfolio of B2B customers and a return to growth in our core business, we remain confident about the Group's prospects."

PartyGaming also said that it has entered into a £35 million three-year loan via its UK subsidiary which will be used for general corporate purposes including mergers and acquisitions. The all-in cost of the loan is anticipated to be approximately 6% per annum based on current interest rates.

Shares in PartyGaming plc (Co. Profile) (LSE:PRTY) are up 1.93% at 263.60 pence per share in London this morning following the trading update.

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