“High profitability and 44% growth in sport” – Gustaf Hagman, Group CEO
FIRST QUARTER 2022: 1 JANUARY – 31 MARCH
- Revenue increased 2% to EUR 98.5 m (96.7).
- Excluding the Netherlands, revenue increased 9%.
- EBITDA was EUR 14.1 m (10.4), corresponding to an EBITDA margin of 14.4% (10.8%).
- The number of depositing customers was 455,843 (462,386), a decrease of 1%.
- Earnings per share were EUR -0.07 (0.02) before and after dilution, while adjusted earnings per share were EUR 0.09 (0.07).
EVENTS DURING THE QUARTER
- LeoVegas has registered as a gaming operator in the Canadian province of Ontario, which is a step in the license process to be able to conduct gaming in the regulated environment in Ontario. On 4 April, the gaming market was re-regulated and the LeoVegas and Royal Panda brands were re-launched on the same day that the market opened.
- LeoVegas is opening two new tech hubs; one in Warsaw and one in Malaga. The plan is to recruit up to 100 developers to these offices in the coming two years.
- In January, LeoVegas distributed the fourth dividend (EUR 3.8 m) of a total of four to the Parent Company’s shareholders.
EVENTS AFTER THE END OF THE QUARTER
- Preliminary revenue in April amounted to EUR 34.0 m (32.6), which corresponds to growth of 4% and of 12% when excluding the Netherlands.
- During the quarter, income tax for previous years of EUR 14.9 m was recorded. The tax is attributable to the Group’s subsidiary Royal Panda during the years 2015–2018 and is a result of the tax audit that was previously communicated. The amount was established with reasonable assurance at the end of the reporting period, and this has been recognised as income tax during the quarter.
- The subsidiary Blue Guru Games launched its first game, The Nemean Lion, on 21 April. The game is available through several well-known operators. During the year, the studio will also launch games in the US market.
- LeoVegas won the award “Online Casino of the Year” at the Global Gaming Awards and “Online Gaming Operator” at the International Gaming Awards.
- LeoVegas has, through LeoVentures, chosen to exercise its option to increase its ownership in CasinoGrounds from 51% to 80%. The transaction is expected to be completed in the second quarter.
- Through LeoVentures, LeoVegas has increased its ownership in the esports betting operator Pixel.bet from 85% to 90%.
- In the notice of the annual general meeting to be held on 19 May, a raised dividend was proposed totalling SEK 1.68 per share (1.60), to be distributed in four tranches over the course of the next 12 months. The full notice is available on the company’s website.
COMMENT FROM GUSTAF HAGMAN – GROUP CEO
LeoVegas began the year in solid fashion with revenue growing 2% in the first quarter. Excluding the Netherlands, growth was 9%. Growth in the sport vertical was a full 44% during the quarter, mainly driven by the Expekt brand. At the same time, we are reporting high profitability with EBITDA increasing 35% compared with the year-earlier period. The improved EBITDA margin of 14.4% was mainly the result of improved payment and supplier terms and lower marketing investments. These factors more than offset increased personnel costs mainly in product and technology, as well as costs related to strategic projects such as the US launch. Overall, these results demonstrate the scalability of our business model.
Marketing costs in relation to revenue amounted to 30.3% during the quarter, which is the lowest figure since the second quarter of 2020. Our marketing strategy is to consistently work with optimising our marketing investments based on data-driven decisions. We expect an increase to our marketing investments during the second quarter as the result of such factors as the recently regulated Canadian province of Ontario where we maintain high growth ambitions.
PRODUCTS AND TECHNOLOGY
Investing and continuous innovation in the area of products and technology is necessary for us to remain at the forefront of the gaming industry. Confirmation that we are making the right moves came in April when we won the award “Online Casino of the Year” at the Global Gaming Awards and “Online Gaming Operator” at the International Gaming Awards. Quite simply, we continue to deliver a world-class gaming experience.
To ensure that we possess the necessary resources to continue to deliver on our ambitious growth plans, we are opening two new tech hubs, one in Warsaw and one in Malaga, where we plan to recruit up to 100 new developers in the coming two years. These investments ensure that the Group will continue to offer the best gaming experience moving forward with the latest innovations in areas such as casino, sport, payments and personalisation.
Something that must be discussed is Russia’s unacceptable invasion of Ukraine. Following the news, we immediately decided to cease offering betting on Russian and Belarusian sport. This is a particularly sensitive situation for the company especially given that we have some forty colleagues in Ukraine. We have taken measures to support those affected and their families through, for example, relocation to Sweden or other countries. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight these colleagues who, despite this terrible situation, have incredibly managed to continue to work and deliver daily value to LeoVegas.
The majority of our markets continue to perform well. Once again, Sweden sticks out having reached new record levels and we are entrenching our position as the largest private company in our home market.
On 4 April, the gaming market was re-regulated in Ontario and we relaunched the LeoVegas and Royal Panda brands on the same day that the market opened. This has begun successfully, and Ontario is the Group’s ninth locally regulated market. During the quarter, we submitted our licence application in the Netherlands while LeoVegas’ expansion to the US, with New Jersey as its first state, is proceeding according to plan. In the US, the portfolio company Blue Guru Games will also launch its slot game portfolio in the second half of the year, providing additional growth opportunities for the Group. We have positive experiences from operating in regulated markets and have high growth ambitions both in North America and in Europe for the years ahead.
COMMENTS ON THE SECOND QUARTER
Revenue in April amounted to EUR 34.0 m (32.6), which corresponds to growth of 4% and of 12% when excluding the Netherlands.
PRESENTATION OF THE REPORT – TODAY AT 09:00 CET
- To participate in the conference call, and thereby be able to ask questions, please call one of the following numbers: SE: +46 (0) 8 50 69 21 80, UK: +44 (0) 20 71 92 80 00, US: +1 63 15 10 74 95, Confirmation code: 6260157# or join at the web https://edge.media-server.com/mmc/p/7ujfzud3