* 9-mth EBITDA 597 mln eur vs expected 587 mln
* UniCredit to invest 100 mln eur in scratchcard consortium
* To issue senior, hybrid bonds, negotiate 5-yr financing
* Shares close up 0.26 pct ahead of results
(Adds details, background, shares)
MILAN, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Italy's Lottomatica SpA LTO.MI, one of the world's biggest lottery operators, launched a revamp of its finances, including selling a stake in its scratchcard consortium, on the back of solid results on Monday.
In the first nine months, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were flat at 597 million euros, above a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S analysts mean estimate of 587 million.
“The performance of the group in the third quarter has been encouraging, the Italian operations have picked up solid growth,” Chief Executive Marco Sala said in a statement, adding its U.S. unit GTECH has seen major commercial successes.
“This progress has significantly improved our forecasts for the next years ... the moment is favourable to intervene in the financial structure of the group making it more flexible for the future,” he said.
The company plans to issue a senior bond of up to 500 million euros and a hybrid bond of up to 300 million. In addition, management will negotiate a new five-year financing contract.
The board has accepted an offer from UniCredit CRDI.MI for Italy's largest bank to invest 100 million euro in Lotterie Nazionali, the consortium that runs Italian scratchcards and in which Lottomatica has a 64 percent stake.
Under the deal, UniCredit will invest in a new company that will hold a 44 percent stake in Lotterie Nazionali, which will remain controlled by Lottomatica. Scientific Games SGMS.O holds a minority stake in the consortium.
On Thursday, SNAI SNAI.MI, which is Italy's largest sports betting operator, reported a 7.7 percent fall in nine-months EBITDA hurt by one-off items.
Lottomatica shares closed up 0.26 percent at 11.55 euros ahead of the results. The Milan blue chip index .FTMIB closed up 0.78 percent.