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Annual Report & Accounts 2014 - CHAIRMAN'S STATEMENT
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i am pleased to announce that 2014 has been a record year with excellent results. increased and effective marketing in all territories led to: growth in net gaming revenue (ngr), up 32% on 2013 to €225 million; clean eBitda up 28% to €49.2 million and profit Before tax increasing 217% to €41.3 million. the group is now generating over €1.5 billion a year in sports wagers, and total revenues in the 77 days of the first quarter of 2015 to 18 march 2015 exceeded €51 million, an average of more than €661k per day, up 18% on first quarter 2014 (€559k). the group continues to be highly cash generative driving progress through organic growth and its proven track record of acquisitions. in the two years since the acquisition of sportingbet on 19 march 2013, the group has declared €63.5 million in dividends and its market capitalisation has risen 87% to close to £290 million*. i am also pleased to announce a further 15.5 €cents per share dividend today, including a 1.5 €cents special dividend. we look forward to presenting this for shareholder approval at the agm. gvc is ranked as one of the highest yielding dividend payers on aim. cash generation and its conversion into dividends continues to be central to the group's focus. with gvc's strong performance for 2014 and the Board's confidence in the outlook for the current financial year, the Board therefore aims to set 14.0 €cents as its new quarterly dividend benchmark, and the 1.5 €cents per share special dividend in essence backdates this policy to January 2015. the record date for the dividend will be friday 10 april. the “ex-div” date will be thursday 9 april and the payment date will be 6 may 2015. the group's strategy is to increase shareholder returns through a combination of: high levels of cash generation through organic growth and acquisitions, redistributing this by way of dividends to shareholders; increasing the markets in which the group trades to diversify geographic risk; and improving the quality and mix of the group's earnings through strategic acquisitions and joint ventures. gvc has a proven ability of generating value through successful integration of significant acquisitions and management is confident this will continue. in the next 12 months, the group aims to continue to improve the product offering, particularly mobile; continue growing the many markets in which the group operates; and devote more executive time to non-dilutive investment and accretive acquisition opportunities. the group has a highly focused and entrepreneurial culture, supported by an employee bonus structure aligned with dividend levels. moving into 2015, gvc is in the strongest position it has ever been, and the group's wide spread of geographies and products position it at the forefront of many emerging and fast-growing markets which gives the Board confidence in the group's prospects in 2015 and beyond. as mentioned above, current trading (Q1 2015 to 18 march 2015) is at record levels, with sports wagers averaging €4.6 million per day, a sports margin of 8.9% and an average net gaming revenue increasing by 18% to €661k per day compared to €559k in 2014, producing yet another quarter of growth. the Board is therefore confident of a successful 2015 as demonstrated by our proposed respective 14 €cents final and 1.5 €cents special dividends. Lee Feldman chairman and non-executive director 20 march 2015 * closing price on 19 March 2013 £2.49, closing price on 19 March 2015 £4.56. GVC HOLDINGS PLC ANNUAL REPORT 2014 5 chaIrmaN'S StatEmENt BUSINESS rEvIEw