Another record breaking set of results from 888 (888) sends shares in the online gambling group up 4.8% to 160p this morning.

Profit before tax rose 28% to $68 million in 2014 with revenue increasing by 14% to $455 million.

Shareholders will also be cheering the special dividend of 7c per share on top of a final dividend of 4.5c per share.

888 HOLDINGS - Comparison Line Chart (Rebased to first)

The main growth drivers were 888’s core casino product, the football World Cup and mobile, which now represents 33% of UK revenue.

Chief executive Brian Mattingley says trading in the first quarter is in line with expectations with an increase in new customers, deposit level and bet volumes.

Average daily volume in the quarter to date is down 6% year-on-year, partly as a result of exchange rate changes and the impact of VAT in certain jurisdictions.

Excluding these factors revenue is up 7%, which shows 888 is continuing to deliver solid growth on its technology and skills platform, which is owned and developed by the group. Numis says this asset is undervalued and would be a source of value for an eventual merger partner.

William Hill (WMH) made an offer to acquire 888 for 200p per share in February and, while the deal didn’t go ahead, it puts a floor under the value of the £541 million cap.

Profit is expected to be negatively affected by the new EU VAT directive, UK Point of Consumption tax and strong US dollar in 2015, falling from $68 million to $49 million, but Numis still increases its target price from 175p to 200p.

Issue Date: 24 Mar 2015