Youbet Continues Strong Performance in Fourth Quarter

Youbet.com reported Thursday the fourth quarter of 2003 provided the eight straight quarter of net revenue growth for the company, though it continues to operate at a loss. Youbet also generated year-over-year increases in handle, net revenue, and earnings before taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA).

Gross handle increased 38% to $69 million during the fourth quarter, compared to $50 million for the same quarter in 2002. For the year, gross handle was up 69% to $276 million from $163 million.

"From an operating standpoint, 2003 was an unqualified success for our team," said chief executive office Chuck Champion. "We are reporting substantial, record gains year-over-year in six key financial measures."

Net revenue grew to $5.1 million for the fourth quarter, a 60% increase from net revenue of $3.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2002. For the year, net revenue grew to $18.5 million, an 89% increase over the $9.8 million generated in 2002.

Fourth quarter EBITDA was $368,000, an increase of $227,000 from the final quarter of 2002. Yearly EBITDA was $2.1 million, an improvement of $5.3 million from the previous year.

"The management team we assembled two years ago has literally transformed Youbet," Champion said. "We began on the brink of failure, now we are the lead competitor in our business."

Net loss during the fourth quarter was $1.15 million, or four cents a share, as compared to $1.38 million, or six cents a share, in 2002. For the year, the company lost just over $4 million, or 14 cents a share, as compared to just under $9 million, or 41 cents a share, in 2002.

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