By Alex Evans, Editorial Director, National Business Awards

Watford’s Camelot UK Lotteries Limited, operator of The National Lottery, has been announced as a finalist in the 3i Private Business of the Year Category, part of the National Business Awards.

Camelot has had a very strong 18 months, delivering on its core objective ‘to maximise returns to Good Causes through selling lottery games in an efficient and socially responsible way’.

“The trading period 2009/10 was, without doubt, an exceptional year for both Camelot and The National Lottery — a year in which Camelot delivered its second best ever sales performance and the highest annual returns to the Good Causes in a decade,” commented Chief Executive Dianne Thompson. “The British public should be proud of its biggest and most innovative lottery. Winning this award would be tremendous for Camelot”, Thompson added.

Martin Pugh, Camelot’s Commercial Director, added that being selected as a finalist for Private Business of the Year was recognition in itself for its 760 staff after a year of commitment and hard work. “We celebrate our milestones internally, but this gives a huge confidence boost to our employees, and it means even more during challenging times when people have worked so hard and achieved so much,” he said.

Camelot, which was sold to Ontario Teacher's Pension Plan in July 2010, has its own dedicated regulator (the National Lottery Commission), manages the lottery infrastructure, which includes running a 28,500-strong retail network as well as the largest online lottery in the world.

A major programme of upgrades across its entire network, as well as strong commercial plans — which have included innovations in both its EuroMillions and Thunderball games — have helped it to achieve milestones in both sales and money raised for the Good Causes, despite a decline in lotteries worldwide and a biting recession.

Commenting on Camelot’s selection as a finalist, Alex Evans, Head of Judging at the National Business Awards, said: “Bucking the trend of lotteries worldwide, Camelot not only achieved its best annual returns to Good Causes in a decade (up over 12%), but in the face of some major challenges. These include a tough economic environment, the complex process of transition to the Third Licence, and the transformation of its operational structure and cost base to become even more cost-efficient — not to mention the lengthy sale process undertaken by its shareholders. Camelot has shown what can be achieved with a strong team, a clear vision and an investment in customer engagement.”

A panel of expert judges will congregate at 30 St. Mary’s Axe (The Gherkin) in London in October to determine the overall winner of the 3i Private Business of the Year 2010. The judges include Gordon Hague, Director, Growth Capital at 3i; Joe Morris, Operations Director at TJ Morris; Matthew Streets, CFO and Senior Partner at Foster & partners; and Chris Rowlands, who is conducting a government review into state funded capital for SMEs.

Announcing the finalists in the nomination only category of the 3i Private Business of the Year, David Whileman, 3i Partner and Head of UK Growth Capital said: “To achieve this level of performance in recent challenging markets is real testament to the strength and resilience of these home-grown British businesses. 3i's Growth Capital focus is to back outstanding entrepreneurs with vision and ambition for growth, and, as such, we're inspired to see such drive and determination amongst this elite group.”

The winner, which will be crowned Britain’s leading Mid-Cap business 2010, will be announced at the gala dinner and awards ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London 9th November 2010.

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