Fortuna’s Record Quarter Boosts Full-Year Income, Shares Jump

Fortuna Entertainment Group NV, a Czech betting company, posted record fourth-quarter Ebitda, or earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, sparking a rally in its shares.

Ebitda for the three months ended Dec. 31 was 8.8 million euros ($11.4 million), up 52 percent from a year ago, Prague-based Fortuna said today in an e-mailed statement. Amounts staked rose 24 percent to 133.8 million euros as betting in each of its four countries of operation increased more than 10 percent, it said.

“In line with our dividend policy, we decided to pay out a dividend 100 percent of 2012 consolidated net profit and in addition, management will consider a proposal to the AGM for a dividend pay-out from retained earnings,” Radim Haluza, chief executive officer of Fortuna Entertainment Group, said in the statement.

Fortuna rose 2.1 koruna, or 2.3 percent, to 94 koruna as of 9:13 a.m. in Prague.

The results were “significantly” above estimates and Fortuna seems to be “optimistic” for 2013, Ceska Sporitelna AS analyst Vaclav Kminek wrote in a note to clients today. He has an “accumulate” recommendation on the stock.

Full-year Ebitda grew 10.6 percent to 22.1 million euros and Fortuna said in the statement it expects 2013 Ebitda to reach 23.1 million euros, helped by “double digit” growth in sports betting. Full year amounts staked should rise to more than 510 million euros, it said.

Dividend Payout

The company’s board will propose paying out all of 2012 net income in dividends to shareholders and will also consider a proposal to pay out a dividend from retained earnings from previous years, it said.

Management aims to continue paying out 70 percent to 100 percent of income in the coming year, chief financial office Michal Veprek added at a news conference today in Prague.

Fortuna said it placed its Czech lottery project “under revision” as its current market share of 6 percent is below the initial target. Fortuna is considering different options for funding the project, including potential partnerships, it said.

Fortuna reiterated today its target for the Czech lottery to break even in the first half of this year.

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