Tabcorp profit, dividend meets forecast
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Nicholas Grove is a Morningstar journalist.
Tabcorp Holdings (TAH) on Thursday announced a 36 per cent fall in net profit from ordinary activities for the year to 30 June 2012 to $340 million, in line with Morningstar's most recent forecast for a figure of $343 million.
The result follows the demerger of Tabcorp's casinos business in the previous year. Net profit from continuing operations rose 12.7 per cent, reflecting underlying earnings growth and lower interest expense following the demerger.
Revenue from ordinary activities for the year under review fell 32 per cent to around $3 billion, the wagering, keno and gaming operator said in a statement.
"Basically, the result was reasonably solid. If you take out the casinos part of the result and impairments from last year, net profit is up about 13 per cent," Morningstar senior industrials analyst Ross Macmillan said.
"The company is strongly investing in technology … it's a completely new era for Tabcorp going forward.
"People are basically downloading apps to their smartphones and that is how they're gambling."
The company declared full-year dividends of 24 cents a share, including a final dividend of 11 cents a share and representing a payout ratio 50.9 per cent of net profit.
Tabcorp also said it will continue to operate its dividend reinvestment plan (DRP) for the final dividend.
The full-year dividend was down from 43 cents a share in the previous year and 1 cent below Morningstar's estimate for a payment of 25 cents a share.
Tabcorp chief executive David Attenborough said the company achieved key operational targets across all four businesses, delivering strong earnings growth despite challenging trading conditions.
By division, Wagering recorded a 10 per cent rise in earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to $242.2 million, with turnover increasing in both the NSW and Victorian retail distribution channels.
EBIT in the Media and International business rose 8.1 per cent to $57.1 million, due to increased subscription revenues.
Gaming EBIT rose 1.1 per cent to $244.1 million, as the company prepared for the transition to a new gaming industry structure in Victoria.
Under the new post-August 2012 structure, Tabcorp said it will transition out of its existing Tabaret business and launch a new business, Tabcorp Gaming Solutions (TGS).
EBIT in the Keno division fell 1 per cent to $48.3 million. Operating expenses grew 12.9 per cent, largely attributable to start-up costs of approximately $4 million for the new Victorian Keno business.
Attenborough said the company's continuing businesses have started the year with good momentum and will benefit from a number of valuable growth opportunities in fiscal 2013, such as the new Victorian Keno business and TGS.
"We will continue to execute on our growth strategies in fiscal 2013 and use our market-leading capabilities to ensure Tabcorp's customers have access to the most compelling gambling entertainment products in the market," he said.
Tabcorp said it intends to target a dividend payout ratio of 80 per cent of net profit in fiscal 2013.