DeFrancis Named CEO of New Magna Company

Magna Entertainment announced Monday that Joe DeFrancis, chief executive officer of the Maryland Jockey Club, has been appointed CEO of PariMax, a new company to oversee the development of Magna's "various electronic distribution platforms."

The announcement, made in conjunction with release of Magna's financial results for the fourth quarter and year ending Dec. 31, 2005, said the entities under PariMax would include XpressBet, HRTV, MagnaBet, RaceONTV and Magna's 30% stake in AmTote International, Inc.

"PariMax will focus on the development of complete wagering solutions and will concentrate on serving the global wagering market by developing product lines which meet the needs of both distribution partners and end consumers worldwide," said Tom Hodgson, president and CEO of MEC.

Hodgson said RaceONTV "will provide simulcasting and wagering solutions for betting shops internationally. AmTote will continue to provide a variety of wagering interfaces and connectivity products for racetracks, OTBs, and account wagering providers, both domestically and abroad. For consumers, XpressBet and MagnaBet will be PariMax's account wagering platforms, which provide video streaming and wagering opportunities to an increasingly international customer base. Consumers will be further served by PariMax supported television channels, including HRTV in the United States, Racing World in the United Kingdom and Ireland (a planned joint venture between MEC, Churchill Downs Inc., and Racing UK) and PremiereWin (a MEC television partner) in central Europe. This will be the first time a company with such breadth of services will have such a focus, and we are optimistic that PariMax will create significant value for the North American racing industry as a whole, including MEC's portfolio of tracks."

MEC reported it lost $39.7 million in the fourth quarter, compared to a $41 million loss in the same period a year earlier. Fourth-quarter revenue fell slightly to $126.9 million from $131.6 million, said the Aurora, Ont.-based firm.

Net loss for the full year widened to $105.3 million, or 98 cents per diluted share, from $95.6 million or 89 cents per share in 2004. Annual revenue fell to $624.7 million from $702.5 million.