BUSINESS

Amaya previews record 2016, bids goodbye to CFO Sebag

TAGs: Amaya Gaming, daniel sebag, PokerStars

amaya-2016-record-revenueCanadian online gambling operator Amaya Gaming says its 2016 results were better than expected but the company is bidding goodbye to another top executive.

On Friday, Amaya released updated guidance on its FY 2016 financial results, pegging revenue to come in at the upper end of the previously forecasted range of (US) $1.153b to $1.158b, compared with FY15’s actual revenue of $1.072b.

Adjusted earnings are expected to fall between $521m and $526m versus $459m in 2015, while adjusted net earnings will come in between $364m and $374m, up from $291m the year before. Amaya will unveil its final audited 2016 results in early March.

Amaya CEO Rafi Ashkenazi said 2016 would be “a record year” for Amaya’s revenue, thanks in part to “better than expected” Q4 performance by its casino vertical and the “efficient and measured approach” to marketing spend.

But Ashkenazi warned that the company expects to face “further headwinds” in 2017, particularly from the continued strength of the US dollar and the resulting decline in the value of local currencies, as well as the expected exit from the Australian market, which accounts for 2.5% of Amaya revenue.

Amaya claims its Q4 real-money active unique customers rose 8% year-on-year to around 2.6m. Around 2.5m (+5%) of these played online poker on Amaya’s flagship PokerStars site, while casino customers jumped 47% to 648k and the new sportsbook was up 88% to 247k, although those latter two comparisons were based on very modest 2015 figures.

Amaya also announced that Daniel Sebag, the only chief financial officer Amaya has had since its formation in 2007, had decided to retire. Sebag has agreed to stay on until a successor is identified later this year following a “global CFO search” led by executive recruiting firm Spencer Stuart.

Sebag was not hit with the criminal insider trading charges filed against former Amaya CEO David Baazov last year but Sebag was among the Amaya execs originally targeted in the related probe by Quebec securities regulator Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF). Both Baazov and Sebag gave up their seats on Amaya’s board last spring following news of the charges against Baazov.

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