Cherryföretagen, Cryptologic Q1 results; Amaya bids for Chartwell Technology

cherryföretagen-cryptologic-amaya-chartwellSwedish betting operator Cherryföretagen has released its Q1 interim results. Group turnover was up 79.7% to SEK 97.4m (US $15.4m), while EBITDA was SEK 6.6m ($1.04m). The number of active clients rose 88% over the previous quarter, while the number of online players increased by a whopping 365% to 35,123. The latter figure was buoyed by January’s addition of, a daily draw available in 23 European languages (although despised by Norwegian officials). Revenue at Cherry’s maritime gaming division, which operates on boats in the Baltic Sea, English Channel, North Sea, Irish Sea and the Mediterranean, was down slightly, the result of sluggish economies in the regions that it serves, not to mention the omnipresent U-boat menace. (Alright, alright… we made up that last bit. Just trying to keep these dry quarterly reports interesting.)

Software supplier Cryptologic Ltd. saw revenue increase 9% to $6m in Q1, suggesting the extensive restructuring the company underwent in 2010 was not in vain. That said, Cryptologic still posted a loss of $0.6m for the quarter, but that’s an improvement over Q1 2010’s $0.9m loss. Hosted casino revenue increased to $5.2m (from $4.9m) and branded games revenue was $1.5m (up slightly from $1.4m). Nine new branded games went live in Q1, bringing Crypto’s total number of games generating revenues for licensees to 179. The company continues to be debt-free and maintains cash and cash equivalents of $14.5m, boosted $3.9m this quarter by movement in income taxes receivable and payable. Definitely helps when you list all 179 branded games as ‘dependents.’

In March, Cryptologic was reportedly looking for someone to acquire their business. Canada’s Amaya Gaming Group was tipped as a likely lad after word leaked that it had taken a 5% ownership stake in Cryptologic. Instead, Amaya has offered $22.8m in stock and cash to acquire Canuck gaming software outfit Chartwell Technology. Amaya president/CEO David Baazov called the move “a significant step for Amaya in our strategy to accelerate growth in the regulated interactive gaming industry.” Chartwell president/CEO Darold Parken said the fusion of the two companies will create an entity with “a significantly expanded product range, delivery channel capability and market reach.” Chartwell shareholders will meet in July, and if 2/3 say ‘aye’, Chartwell shares will be delisted and the company will continue to run under current management as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amaya.