Aristocrat says growth path is strong

Gaming machine supplier Aristocrat Leisure says it is on a strong growth trajectory despite challenges of tough economic conditions and currency fluctuations.

"Looking ahead, we expect to face ongoing challenging economic and trading conditions and currency headwinds," Aristocrat chief executive Jamie Odell told shareholders at the company's annual general meeting in Sydney on Wednesday.

"We continue to expect a further strong lift in performance over the full year to 30 September, 2013, with the benefit of major new game releases across all key markets, continued cost discipline and efficiency and culture measures.

"Performance will be weighted to the second half, due to the timing of new game releases in the US, Australia and Japan."

Mr Odell said Aristocrat's 2012 financial results showed that Aristocrat was well and truly back on a sustainable growth trajectory, delivering in line with its commitments and moving towards its full potential.

"We will be driving the business hard to lock in improvements over the balance of 2013," he said.

Aristocrat, which embarked on a program to improve its financial performance three years ago, has changed its financial year year from one ending on December 31 to one ending on September 30.

For the 12 months to September 30, 2012, Aristocrat generated an operating net profit of $91.7 million, up 69.2 per cent on the prior corresponding period.

Mr Odell said Aristocrat's recent acquisition of online wagering and social gaming platforms would help ensure that the company would be able to deploy Aristocrat content through more channels as that sector evolves.

"Fully implementing our digital plans will be a medium-term undertaking, and we will continue to take a measured and careful approach that is very much focused on returns," Mr Odell said.

"I look forward to providing more detail around our digital strategy goals and plans at our half-year results."

Aristocrat chairman Ian Blackburne said Aristocrat's strengthening balance sheet enabled the board to provide enhanced returns to shareholders and to invest strategically for growth.

"The board will consider appropriate capital management initiatives over the coming months," Dr Blackburne said.

Shares in Aristocrat were seven cents higher at $3.86 on Wednesday.

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