Amaya sees shares drop by nearly a third as it cuts revenue, profit estimates

MONTREAL – Amaya’s shares lost nearly a third of their value Tuesday as the company that runs the PokerStars online gambling business lowered its financial expectations for 2015, in part because the stronger U.S. dollar has sapped the purchasing strength of its customers and eaten into revenue.

The company’s stock closed at $21.10 on the Toronto Stock Exchange, a $10.13 drop from the day before.

The plunge came after Amaya chairman and CEO David Baazov also said that the Montreal-based company has delayed the rollout of “significant aspects” of its new online sportsbook while it makes enhancements and completes the product.

“The general strengthening of the U.S. dollar relative to certain foreign currencies, primarily the euro, has resulted in an approximate 19 per cent decline in the purchasing power of our customer base and has had a significant negative impact on our revenues, higher than we previously anticipated,” Baazov said in a statement.

However, he said the company believes it’s still positioned to increase its cash flow and grow its customer base next year.

Amaya Inc. (TSX:AYA) said it was reducing its revenue estimate for 2015 to a range of between $1.289 billion and $1.339 billion — a decline of about 13 per cent at the midpoint from the previous estimate.

Amaya it is also lowering its profit estimates for this year to a range of between $1.66 and $1.75 per diluted share of adjusted earnings, which is below the previous range of between $1.76 and $2 per diluted share.

The revised guidance was included in Amaya’s third-quarter financial report, which met analyst estimates in terms of adjusted net earnings per share but fell short on revenue.

Amaya said its third-quarter revenue was $324.7 million, up from $299.5 million a year ago, and adjusted net earnings per share was 44 cents or $90.5 million, up from 38 cents per share or $79.8 million.

The revenue was $37.3 million or about 10 per cent below the general estimate of $362 million, according to Thomson Reuters.

Amaya said it was required to suspend real-money operations in Portugal in July because of a new regulatory regime and in Greece because of that country’s severe economic slowdown.

Last year, Amaya generated at total of US$9 million from those two countries and 30 other jurisdictions where Amaya has suspended operations.