THE share price of Niveus Investments — a listing created last September by Hosken Consolidated Investments in unbundling its gambling and alcohol businesses — shot up 12.5% to R19 on Thursday, after it released results for the year to March.

These showed that after-tax profit increased sevenfold to R289m. Revenue, bolstered by numerous acquisitions, doubled to R856m.

During the year, Niveus acquired a 100% interest in the Galaxy Bingo Group, and a 90% interest in Formex Industries from July 1 last year, an investment that was sold to Hosken Consolidated Investment in January. Thursday’s results showed net gaming wins increased 56% to R655.6m from R418m.

Operating expenses also rose sharply to R691.4 from R293m.

In September, Niveus listed 107-million shares on the JSE and it issued a further 5.5-million shares in December, for the acquisition of a further interest in KWV Holdings. It now holds a 51.6% stake.

For the nine months to March, KWV’s taxed profit came to R7.4m, a turnaround from the R49.6m loss for the 12 months ended June 30 last year.

“The return to profitability is pleasing as it resulted from operating profit, but remains tenuous if the group does not continue to execute its strategic plans,” the Niveus directors said about KWV.

Vukani, the supplier of limited payout gaming machines, contributed R177m of the R188m Niveus generated in terms of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) from gaming operations.

Ebitda growth from Vukani was in line with expectations even though machine roll-out was behind expectation due to difficulties in obtaining approvals for new machines from the respective gaming boards.

“The frustrating delays in Gauteng approvals should be behind us with the appointment of the new CEO of the Gauteng Gaming Board,” the directors said. The process remained slow at other provincial gaming boards, they said.

The Gauteng bingo site grew quickly and reported a pretax profit of R5m.

Applications had been submitted for bingo sites to the Eastern Cape Gaming Board.

A paper bingo site had been opened in KwaZulu-Natal.

Source: BDLive – Edward West