UPDATE 1-Playtech profit gets boost from financial trading arm

(Adds shares, analyst comment, details on results and liquidity)

May 20 (Reuters) - Gambling software maker Playtech said on Wednesday first-quarter results had met company expectations despite COVID-19 disruptions, as its financial trading division benefitted significantly from increased market volatility and trading volumes.

The world’s biggest supplier of technology for online gaming operators, which did not report quarterly earnings last year, said it had adjusted core earnings of 117 million euros ($128.00 million) for the first three months of the year and 140 million euros by the end of April.

That compared to 190 million euros for the whole first half of 2019 and shares of the company rose 4% after the statement.

Financially focussed division TradeTech alone delivered adjusted core earnings of 45 million euros in the four months to the end of April, the company said.

“Despite COVID-19 starting to severely impact some of the group’s businesses, the results for March as a whole were in line with the company’s original pre-COVID-19 expectations, with strong performance from the company’s online business,” Playtech said.

The company said suspending shareholder payouts and repurchase programmes during the quarter saved over 65 million euros of cash outflows.

As of April 30, Playtech had over 600 million euros of available liquidity, including a revolving credit facility that had been fully drawn down.

Volatility on stock and other financial markets has soared as the coronavirus crisis stoked fears of an impending global recession, ending an extended bull run for shares and shattering oil markets.

Earlier this year, Playtech, whose different platforms allow customers to bet on anything from currency prices to sports events, said Europeans stuck at home due to the outbreak were playing more poker and bingo online to relieve boredom.

“Playtech delivered the best quarter on record in 1Q20E,” Jefferies analysts said, calling the update reassuring. ($1 = 0.9141 euros) (Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)