Merger to happen on schedule, says Bwin

Bwin bosses have rubbished speculations that the firm’s merger with a key rival was suddenly in doubt.Business media reported recently that plans to cooperate with British competitor PartyGaming from next year have been hampered by delays in Bwin’s bid to start doing business in several new countries.The Austrian firm has been confronted with differing federal market restrictions as it tries to increase the number of countries in which it is operating.Now CEO Norbert Teufelberger dismissed rumours that the ongoing negotiations with officials were putting the planned merger at risk.”We are confident that the merger will happen by the end of the first quarter of 2011,” he said today (Thurs), adding that he and his team have been “very busy” in getting the go-ahead by various cartel authoritiesTeufelberger explained that Bwin may reduce its staff number in upcoming “restructuring measures” in the merger with PartyGaming. He said the firm’s headquarters will be relocated from Austrian capital Vienna to Gibraltar, adding that it was impossible to say by now whether employees currently working for Bwin in Vienna will be made redundant.The Bwin boss said his company’s net profit declined from 26.9 million Euros in the third quarter of 2009 to 8.7 million Euros in the same period of this year.Bwin’s gaming revenues before taxes however rose from 101 to 123.3 million Euros year on year, he added.Meanwhile, Bet-at-home, one of Bwin’s major rivals, managed to get back in the black during the first nine months of this year.The firm, which is listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange (WBAG) and on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (FWB), achieved earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) of 6.61 million Euros after a loss of 2.19 million Euros in same period last year.Increased betting activity during this summer’s Football World Cup has been identified as the major reason for the positive development of Bet-at-home, which is based in Malta.