Bookie IAS upbeat despite looming loss - Tuesday 12th of July 2005

Online bookie International All Sports (IAS) Ltd warned of an upcoming annual loss but investors jumped aboard on a stronger outlook.

Chief executive Robert Edge said ISAs outlook had improved since its merger with UK-based Canbet Ltd in December and on the back of new licences for the Northern Territory and Macau.

"The IASbet wagering performance strengthened in turnover and margin in the second half and the directors are confident that this trend will be maintained in the first half of the new financial year," Mr Edge said.

Despite this, IAS is expecting an unaudited pretax loss for 2004/05 of about $5.1 million, after expenses for restructuring its United Kingdom acquisition Capital Sports plus depreciation and amortisation.

Its first half loss was $1.37 million and it also made a year loss of $3.9 million in 2003/04.

Mr Edge said Canbet had returned to profitability since the merger after incurred losses of about $10 million in the year prior to its acquisition by IAS.

The NTs Racing Commission has granted a 10-year sports bookmaking licence to operate a 24/7 internet and telephone race and sports betting service to IAS wholly-owned subsidiary, Canbet Sports Bookmakers.

The service will be launched in Australia and marketed as www.canbet.com.au.

The company will also expand its Asian horse racing business in a few weeks after being awarded a betting agent agreement by the Macau government and the Macau Jockey Club.

An analyst, who did not want to be named, said the companys improved outlook drove the share price up 4.5 cents to 28 cents on Friday.

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