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888 `Confident' Annual Earnings Will Meet Forecasts
by Amy Wilson
17 December, 2007


SOURCE: Bloomberg

888 Holdings Plc, the U.K.'s second- largest online gaming company, said it's ``confident'' about meeting its annual earnings forecasts, boosting the shares.

Sales in 2007 are ``in line'' with company estimates and business in recent weeks has been ``stronger than expected,'' the Gibraltar-based company said today in a statement. 888 may report revenue of $208.3 million for the year ending Dec. 31, according to the average of seven analysts' estimates compiled by Bloomberg, and pretax profit of $44.4 million, six estimates show.

888 reported a 68 percent drop in first-half profit because of a U.S. crackdown on offshore gaming Web sites. The company lost about half its sales last year after being cut off from its main market by the U.S. ban on Web gambling.

The company raised research spending in response and added new games such as Crazy Blackjack to attract more European players.

``With the regulatory landscape getting clearer, we think the group's current valuation is unjustified given the level of cash generation and growth,'' Richard Carter, an analyst at Numis Securities, said today in an e-mailed note.

He has a ``buy'' rating on the stock and a target price of 174 pence a share.

Shares of 888 fell 1 penny, or 0.8 percent, to 128 pence, outpacing the FTSE All-Share Index, which declined 2 percent.

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