March 29, 2017 / 2:51 PM / in 6 months

BUZZ-Jackpotjoy: deleveraging bingo

** Jackpotjoy shares still need to be better understood by investors and the outlook should brighten once co pays down its debt, CEO Andy McIver told Reuters following its first full year results since listing on AIM in January

** The world’s largest online bingo operator, formerly known as Intertain, is an M&A roll-up of a number of online gaming assets, mainly funded by borrowing

** It moved from Toronto to London claiming the company would be better understood by investors and analysts, but still trades on a steep discount to the sector. Chart: reut.rs/2njld8L

** “We never thought it would happen overnight. We need to educate investors,” McIver said

** Jackpotjoy paid £35.9 mln in interest expenses in 2016, with some of its debt borrowed at LIBOR + 9 pct. Chart: reut.rs/2ogPUfn

** Peer GVC recently refinanced its debt at around a third of that level

** “Online is an expensive place to borrow money because we don’t have any property assets to secure it against,” McIver said. “It sounds quite high but it is competitive in the industry”

** He added the company plans to refinance when it starts to reduce its debt, and that it will pay a dividend by the end of 2018 if it can get leverage below 2.75x

** An April earnout of £89 mln due to Gamesys, that sold the Jackpotjoy brand, will be funded by cash already on the balance sheet, McIver added

** Jackpotjoy reported a cash balance of £68.5 mln at 31 December

** The company reported adjusted EBITDA of £102.1 mln on Wednesday, ahead of consensus, though it lost £40.6 mln on an unadjusted basis Link: reut.rs/2ogOaTr

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