Per Widerström, 888 CEO

888 narrows 2023 losses as Widerström Evokes new vision 

888 Holdings declares that it has established the foundations for future sustainable growth under new company leadership, which will lead the business under its new identity as Evoke Plc.

This morning the LSE gambling group published its full-year 2023 accounts, registering ‘reported’ corporate revenues of £1.71bn, up 38% on FY2022 comparative results of £1.23bn. However, pro-forma trading marked 888’s revenue results as an 8% decline on FY2022 revenues of £1.85bn.

888 cites that the ‘revenue-mix’ of its business continues to adjust from a move away from markets and the adoption of additional UK safer gambling measures.

On a like-for-like basis, 888’s adjusted EBITDA stood at £308m, registering a 41% uplift on FY2022 comparatives of £218m. Yet once more corporate accounts detail 888’s EBITDA to register a 1% decline on pro-forma 2022 results of £310m.

The year’s trading sees 888’s corporate profits (after tax) decline by 25% to £48m. However, corporate accounts reveal that 888 narrowed its 2023 statutory losses to £56m, matched against FY2022 losses of £125m – a year in which its William Hill subsidiary booked losses of £140m.

Markets were informed that as of 31 December, 888 maintains a cash balance of £128m combined with an undrawn credit facility of £150m, providing a “total liquidity of approximately £278m”.

Further to publishing its FY2023 results, 888 announced the creation of a “New Value Creation Plan (VCP)” spearheaded by “Per Widerström as CEO in October 2023, with swift and decisive actions taken to position the Group for long-term success.”

Widerström leads a new executive leadership team, formed of seven new company executives tasked with executing a “Group operating model reset, removing duplication and inefficiencies while enhancing accountability, as well as delivering approximately £30m of additional annual cost savings.”

Headline initiatives will see 888 simplify its reporting categories into “Core Markets (UK, Italy, Spain, and Denmark), and optimise markets”.

The VCP has proposed that 888 change its business identity to Evoke Plc, a subject that will be put forward to investors at the 2024 AGM. A new corporate identity is recommended to “better reflect the strength of the Group’s multi-brand operating model and its vision and mission to make life more interesting by delighting players with world-class betting and gaming experiences.”

Operating under a new framework, investors were informed of the VCP’s “bold mid-term targets” to deliver “profitable and sustainable revenue growth: 5-9% revenue growth per year.”

Mid-term profitability is to be enhanced by improved efficiencies in which leadership targets an “adjusted EBITDA margin expansion of approximately 100 basis points per year.”

In addition, 888 will implement a new disciplined capital allocation to reduce its corporate net debt of £1.7bn to a leverage of below 3.5x by the end of 2026.

Per Widerström, CEO of 888, commented: “It is incredibly exciting to announce our Value Creation Plan, our strategy for success, our new financial targets, and our new corporate identity.

We have acted with pace, decisiveness, and urgency to build a clear strategy to deliver success. These actions include significantly strengthening our executive leadership team and developing a new strategic framework and Value Creation Plan.

“I firmly believe that the Group now has all the key ingredients for long-term success: leading positions in growing markets with high and rising barriers to entry; powerful proprietary technology; a top-class management team; and some of the strongest betting and gaming brands in the world. 

“We are now clear on what success looks like, we have the team and capabilities to deliver, and I am confident that the execution of our plan will deliver a high return on equity from sustainable profitable growth, enhanced by deleveraging.”

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