November 1, 2011 / 8:06 AM / 7 years ago

888 sees strong year as Britons turn to online gaming

(Reuters) - 888 Holdings Plc expects 2011 earnings to be significantly ahead of current market estimates as British consumers preferred staying back home, watching TV and gambling online amid an economic slowdown.

888, whose rivals include the world’s biggest listed online gaming company, Bwin.party digital, said its third-quarter sales grew 42 percent to $86 million, the highest quarterly revenue ever achieved in the company’s history.

As of September 30, the company had 10.1 million casino, poker and sport real money registered customer accounts, an increase of 24 percent from last year.

Cash-strapped Britons are staying at home more, updates from consumer-facing companies showed last week, as fears grow that the UK will slip back into recession.

“Trading has continued to be strong into the fourth quarter, and we expect that clean EBITDA for the financial year ending December 31 will be significantly ahead of current market expectations,” Deputy Chairman Brian Mattingley said in a statement on Tuesday.

Analysts on average are expecting a full-year EBITDA of $33.5 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

In August, 888 had said trading across all its business lines for the traditionally weaker third quarter was likely to remain robust, aided by demand from new customers.

888 shares, which have fallen 13 percent in the last six months, closed at 33 pence on Monday on the London Stock Exchange, valuing the firm at about 115 million pounds. (Reporting by Tresa Sherin Morera in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das)

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