Financial Reports and Trading Updates — Weekly Round-up for May 12, 2017

Italian Market Booms In April 2017

Overall turnover in April was up 63 percent year-on-year

The Italian gambling market continued to advance in April 2017, according to official statistics just released, with overall turnover up an astonishing 63 percent year-on-year.

Highlights from the latest stats show:

* Land and online handle combined topped Euro 1 billion;

* Euro 541 million of that was staked online;

* Italian legal sports betting operators doubled revenue to Euro 149.5 million compared with the same period last year;

* Online betting revenue rose an impressive 93 percent y-o-y to Euro 56.6 million;

* Legal online casino revenue rose by over 33 percent year-on-year to Euro 45.2 million;

* Online poker cash game revenue continued to disappoint at Euro 5.6 million – a 10 percent y-o-y decline, with Pokerstars leading the sector with 45.5 percent of the market and Lottomatica way behind on 7 percent;

* Online poker tournament fees presented a brighter picture with a rise of 11 percednt y-o-y to Euro 6.6 million, almost 70 percent of that going to Pokerstars.

The operational stars in the online sports betting sector were again led by bet365 with 29.4 percent of the market, but there was a surprise arrival at second with an 11 percent sports market share of Austrian operator SKS365, displacing Eurobet (8.9 percent)

SKS did equally well in the land sports betting sector, where it placed third with a 13.4 percent market share, behind SNAI (16.8 percent) and Eurobet (14.1 percent).

With a combined land and online sportsbetting handle of Euro 121.2 million, the Austrian outsider placed second only to bet365’s Euro 159.5 million in deposits. Third was Eurobet (Euro 113 million), SNAI (111.4 million) and Sisal (Euro 85.6 million).

The online casino market leaders in Italy for April were Lottomatica with a 10 percent market share, followed by Sisal (8.54 percent) and Pokerstars-Amaya (7.3 percent).

Swedish Online Gaming Firm Goes From Strength To Strength

Cherry Interim report delivers strong growth and improved profitability

An interim first quarter 2017 report from Swedish gaming firm Cherry shows strong growth in revenues and improved profitability, despite an increase in marketing expenses and its outright acquisition of ComeOn’s remaining 51 percent.

Key performance highlights for the period ending March 31, 2017 include:

Group revenue increase of 205 percent year-on-year to SEK 541 million (Q1/2016: SEK 177 million), with organic revenue growth reported as 44 percent.

Improved profitability with EBITDA increasing 224 percent to SEK 83 million (Q1/2016: SEK 26 million) and an EBITDA margin of 15.4 percent (Q1/2016: 14.5 percent).

EBIT amounted to SEK 52 million (Q1/2016: SEK 17 million) and profit of SEK 36 million (Q1/2016: SEK 17 million).

Earnings per share before and after dilution amounted to SEK 1.21 (Q1/2016: SEK 0.81) and SEK 1.19 (Q1/2016: SEK 0.80) respectively.

Online Gaming – ComeOn! revenue grew by 282 percent to SEK 453 million (Q1/2016: SEK 119 million) and EBITDA increased by 375 percent to SEK 57 million (Q1/2016: SEK 12 million). Organic revenue growth was 44 percent.

Performance-based marketing – Game Lounge revenue grew by 201 percent to SEK 30 million (Q1/2016: SEK 10 million) and EBITDA increased by 222 percent to SEK 15 million (Q1/2016: SEK 5 million).

Game development – Yggdrasil Gaming revenue grew by 134 percent to SEK 33 million (Q1/2016: 14 million) and EBITDA increased by 68 percent to SEK 13 million (Q1/2016: SEK 8 million).

The Group’s forecast to generate total revenue for the full year 2017 of between SEK 2,6 billion and SEK 2,7 billion, with an EBITDA of SEK 550 million and SEK 600 million, remains.

Commenting on the results, Anders Holmgren, CEO Cherry, said:

“With a strong acquisition year behind us, the first quarter was mainly characterized by consolidation. At the same time, we grew as planned and with good profitability. Partnerships and synergies have enabled an even stronger focus on innovation, improved customer experience and continued growth”.

Holmgren highlighted strong performances across all business divisions but particularly from Yggdrasil Gaming and Game Lounge.

“Cherry has broadened the Group’s business to cover the entire value chain within gaming. A strong organic growth and further acquisitions of entrepreneurial companies give us a unique platform to continue to create value. Overall, within Cherry we have the strengths and advantages that give us the opportunity to continue to grow faster than the market,” Holmgren concluded.

Yggdrasil Highlights Another Strong Quarter

Cherry Group subsidiary maintains growth trajectory

Cherry Group’s online gambling games development subsidiary, Yggdrasil has followed the parent group’s published Q1-2017 results (see previous InfoPowa report) with a detailed breakdown of its own numbers, flagging the following highlights:

* Revenues for the period increased by 134 percent year-on-year to SEK 33.3 million (Q1 2016: 14.2);

* EBITDA for the period increased to SEK 13.3 million (7.9);

* EBITDA margin was 40 percent;

* EBIT for the period increased to SEK 10.7 million (5.5);

* Number of player transactions increased by 121 percent year-on-year to 701 million;

* Mobile gaming now delivers 52.3 percent of total gross game win:

* The company launched Yggdrasil Dragons, a new initiative to enter mutually beneficial partnerships with entrepreneurs;

* Andrew Pegler was appointed chief commercial officer Gibraltar, and Krzysztof Opałka was promoted to chief product officer;

* The company announcement plans to enter the Italian supplier market;

* Announced new game mechanic Fusion Realms;

* Three new games were released: Beauty & the Beast, Alchymedes and Chibeasties 2;

* 10 new licence agreements were signed including William Hill and Yggdrasil’s first partner in Italy, bwin;

Notable events after the quarter included:

* Launched revamped platform iSENSE 2.0+

* Launched new game Power Plant

* New CTO signed in Poland

* Hired first CSO (Chief Studio Operations)

* Yggdrasil Gaming Sweden AB established

* Signed a contract for a new office in Stockholm via Skanska

CEO Fredrik Elmqvist reported that the first quarter had been extremely busy and productive, yielding good results that included rising revenues and profits which breached the SEK13 million benchmark.

Elmqvist noted good business in Gibraltar and the UK, and anticipated progress in the Italian market once licensing is achieved.

“With the correct structure in place and encouraging growth in new markets, it is vital Yggdrasil continues to do what it does best: continue to disrupt the industry and search for game-changing innovations that have a commercial impact,” he said.

Spain’s Online Gambling Market Grows 20 Percent In First Quarter

Growth occurs despite decrease in marketing by operators

The latest figures from the Spanish online gambling regulator show that despite a cutback in marketing by operators, the market continued to deliver 20 percent revenue growth in Q1-2017.

Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) statistics highlighted total online gambling revenue of Euro 122.7 million – up 20 percent year-on-year, although slightly lower than those achieved in the last quarter of 2016.

Revenue growth was achieved in virtual all verticals on a y-o-y basis, with:

* Betting revenue up 22 percent y-o-y at Euro 71.6 million, and turnover up 4 percent at Euro 1.4 billion – 69 percent from in-play betting;

* Online casino revenue up 30 percent y-o-y at Euro 32.5 million, with slots and roulette each contributing around Euro 13.6 million and showing a 42 percent year=on-year improvement. Blackjack was less successful at Euro 5.1 million, a rise of 18 percent, and Baccarat remained flat at Euro 2.5 million despite turnover plunging almost 60 percent;

* Online poker revenues rose a mere 2.4 percent to Euro 15.1 million in the quarter, recording a 12.3 percent decline in cash game stakes, although tournament fees rose 11.7 percent;

* Online bingo revenue was up almost 7 percent at Euro 2.4 million on turnover that declined 9 percent;

* Operator adspend dropped 14.3 percent y-o-y to Euro 28 million in the quarter, continuing a trend started in Q4-2016. Bonus awards fell almost 10 percent to Euro 17 million, and more was spent on affiliate marketing at Euro 5.2 million…up 6 percent.

* Active online punters rose almost 10 percent to 603,000.

E-Cash Processor On Course

Paysafe continues to perform in line with management expectations

In an interim management statement Tuesday covering Q1-2017, the management of e-cash processor Paysafe Group plc reported that the company continues to perform in line with management expectations; reiterates its FY 2017 guidance that revenue growth will be in the low double digit figures; the 30.1 percent adjusted EBITDA margin will be maintained; and adjusted cash conversion remains strong.

President and CEO Joel Leonoff revealed that the group has continued to de-leverage despite returning GBP 22.4 million of capital to shareholders in the form of a share buyback earlier this year.

“Paysafe has had a strong start to 2017 and each of our divisions is performing as expected,” Leonoff reported.

“Our business continues to benefit from the disciplined execution of our strategy. Paysafe is focused on driving sustainable organic growth, providing state-of-the-art technology, delivering relevant niche oriented payment solutions, nourishing an entrepreneurial company culture, and identifying and integrating bold acquisitions.

“We believe Paysafe’s differentiated and relevant products and services position us very well in a rapidly-evolving payments industry.”

Online Revenues Boost For William Hill Plc

Online revenue for the 17 weeks to April 25 surges 16 percent year-on-year

In its report Tuesday on the 17 weeks of 2017 ended April 25, William Hill plc has flagged an encouraging 16 percent year-on-year improvement in online revenues following improved interface and product development that has attracted more punters.

The company also flagged the following highlights of the period:

* Group total net revenue was up 9 percent, with the strongest increase coming from Australia;

* Total net revenues from the retail arm, which accounts for the majority of Will Hill revenues, increased 1 percent, down from 2 percent last year;

* Net revenues rose 41 percent in Australia and 19 percent in the US over the period;

* Retail and U.S. total net revenue grew by 1 percent and 19 percent respectively;

* Amounts wagered online by punters jumped 11 percent in the UK over the 17 weeks, although the company experienced mixed sporting results, with a strong year so far for horseracing but football returns lower than expected;

* The company is braced for an expected hit of around GBP 5 million to its online arm this year from the new 10 percent levy on its UK horseracing gross win to fund UK horseracing;

“Overall, we are in line with market expectations for 2017,” the bookmaker said in a press statement Tuesday, adding that efforts to boost its online business continued to pay off after the group launched a new Android app and desktop site, while it saw a 24 percent leap in new accounts set up across the key Cheltenham and Aintree horseracing festivals earlier this year.

Philip Bowcock, chief executive of William Hill, said: “It has been a positive start to the year for William Hill across the board. Our online business continues to deliver growth thanks to the improvements in product, user experience and marketing we have made.”

Bowcock revealed that William Hill is on track to make annual savings of GBP 40 million by the end of 2017 to reinvest in the business as part of an overhaul. This initiative includes the delivery of a global technology platform as it looks to catch up with rivals in the online betting market.