Published On: Fri, Jul 13th, 2018

NetEnt: Interim report

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Quote from Therese Hillman, Group CEO:

”During the quarter, we came up with a plan and started taking action in several areas to strengthen our customer offering, cut lead times, and free up resources for new commercial projects. These changes are necessary for us to reassert our strong market position in online casino. I look forward to a busy autumn, focused on the turnaround of NetEnt, with improved efficiency and many new products and growth initiatives that all have players and customers in focus.”

Second quarter 2018:

  • Revenues for the second quarter amounted to SEK 437 (413) million
  • EBITDA amounted to SEK 202 (187) million, a margin of 46.3 (45.2)%
  • Operating profit (EBIT) amounted to SEK 149 (147) million, a margin of 34.0
  • (35.6)%
  • Profit after tax of SEK 139 (136) million
  • Earnings per share of SEK 0.58 (0.57) before and after dilution
  • 8 (6) new customer agreements signed, and 7 (8) new customers’ casinos
  • launched

First half-year 2018:

  • Revenues for the first half-year amounted to SEK 867 (806) million
  • EBITDA amounted to SEK 384 (350) million, a margin of 44.3 (43.5)%
  • Operating profit (EBIT) amounted to SEK 283 (274) million, a margin of 32.6 (34.0)%
  • Profit after tax of SEK 285 (251) million
  • Earnings per share of SEK 1.19 (1.04) before and after dilution
  • 14 (21) new customer agreements signed, and 15 (14) new customers’ casinos launched

Important events in the second quarter:

  • The AGM elected Fredrik Erbing as new Chairman of the Board of Directors
  • The Board appointed Therese Hillman as new CEO
  • Five new slot games released, including Archangels Salvation, Lost Relics and Jumanji
  • Beta-launched slot games for Social Casino
  • Signed customer agreement with Hard Rock in New Jersey

Comments by Therese Hillman, Group CEO:

Revenues for NetEnt increased by 5.9 percent (-0.8 percent in euro) to SEK 437 million in the second quarter of 2018. The operating profit (EBIT) increased by 1.2 percent to SEK 149 million, representing a margin of 34.0 (35.6) percent. Cash flow after investments increased by 35.8 percent to SEK 178 (131) million in the quarter.

We continue to see that our core markets in the Nordics and the UK are maturing, and competition has increased. During the quarter, we came up with a plan and started taking action in several areas to strengthen our customer offering, cut lead times, and free up resources for new commercial projects. These changes are necessary for us to reassert our strong market position in online casino. At the same time, we continue to review our cost structure to improve scalability across the business, and we have started to see a lower pace of cost growth. We continue to target higher revenue growth than cost growth.

At the beginning of June, the Swedish parliament approved the new gambling law, and our preparations ahead of the Swedish market re-regulation has intensified since then. We aim to have a broad selection of our games certified when the new licensing system starts on January 1, 2019 and work closely with our customers on all fronts to ensure a successful market entry right from the start.

We released five new slot games in the quarter: Archangels Salvation, Lost Relics, Jumanji, Witchcraft Academy and Bollywood Story. The latter two titles had previously been customer-exclusive and were released to the rest of our customers in June. The innovative game Jumanji combines slots and board game features and has been well received by players. So far, three weeks since its launch, it is our best game release this year.

I also follow the development of our upcoming new games with great interest. Among other things, we will present a new game concept with the launch of BerryBurst in August, which is based on player feedback and insights. A new initiative is the beta-launch of our games in the form of Social Casino games on Facebook, which in the longer-term perspective could add new revenues and strengthen our game brands with players on many different markets. Through this initiative, we capitalize on our existing digital assets.

With regards to Live Casino, the new product called Live Beyond Live was launched on desktop for Mr Green at the end of May, and since that we have noticed a steady increase in number of players, bets and gamewin. Just in time for the FIFA World Cup, we introduced a new type of functionality for Live Casino, called Sports Betting Widget, which allows players to place bets on sports without leaving the roulette table. As a first step, the feature has been rolled out to a handful of customers. We see good demand for our bespoke, virtual multi-table solutions – Live Beyond Live being the first such product – and expect to launch new customer-exclusive tables for several customers this year.

Regionally, we saw similar developments as in the first quarter. Growth in locally regulated markets continued at a high pace, especially in Southern and Eastern Europe, while overall revenue growth was negatively impacted by a weaker development in the Nordics and in the UK. The share of revenues from locally regulated markets was 36 (32) percent in the quarter. In the US, we now see some positive signs after the Supreme Court decision in May that paves the way for sports betting to be legalized in New Jersey and other US states. Thanks to our presence in New Jersey, we are in a good position to enter other US states if and when they open for online casino.

Mobile games continued to contribute to our growth and accounted for 58 (56) percent of total gamewin in the quarter. Our ambition is to offer the best mobile games for the online casino market, and therefore we were really pleased to win the award in the category called Innovation in Mobile at the EGR B2B Awards in June.

I look forward to a busy autumn focused on the turnaround of NetEnt, with improved efficiency and many new products and growth initiatives that all have players and customers in focus.

About the Author

- iGaming & land based specialist reporter for the global gaming market