“LeoVegas has had a good start to the year – customer loyalty and the inflow of new customers has never been better!”– Gustaf Hagman, Group CEO
First quarter 2019: 1 January– 31 march 2019
- Revenue increased by 12% to EUR 86.3 m (77.4).
- Organic growth in local currencies was 4%.
- Organic growth in local currencies excluding the UK was 19%.
- EBITDA was EUR 7.2 m (9.5), corresponding to an EBITDA margin of 8.3% (12.3%).
- Net Gaming Revenue (NGR) from regulated markets was 50% (35%) of total NGR.
- The number of depositing customers was 370 209 (302 014), an increase of 23%.
- The number of returning depositing customers was 196 863 (155 951), an increase of 26%.
- Earnings per share were EUR 0.00 (0.02) before and after dilution.
Events during the quarter
- Sweden launched as a regulated market and the assessment is that LeoVegas is taking market shares.
- The Group’s Pixel.bet brand was granted a five-year license for casino and sports betting in Sweden.
- The Group is seeing positive effects of a pronounced internal focus on efficiency and cost control.
- LeoVegas launched its proprietary multibrand platform to further complement its brand portfolio.
- The new GoGoCasino brand was launched in the end of March and has been well-received.
- Strategic evaluation of LeoVentures continues. The portfolio company Authentic Gaming is growing strongly and achieved a positive result for the first time in March and is expected to continue generating profits.
Events after the end of the quarter
- Preliminary revenue in April amounted to EUR 30.5 m (29.1), representing growth of 5%.
- Richard Woodbridge, COO, and Avshalom Lazar, CCLO, has started their employment with the Group, while Mattias Wedar, CPTO, will assume his position during the second quarter. The new Group Management team is thereby complete.
- LeoVegas’ 2018 Annual Report published on www.leovegasgroup.com.
- LeoVegas Annual General Meeting to be held on 29 May 2019.
- Nomination Committee has presented its recommendation for the new Board of Directors. Per Brilioth, Barbara Canales Rivera and Patrik Rosén have declined re-election, while Fredrik Rüden has been nominated to be elected as a new director.
- 14 August 2019 set as new date for the second quarter interim report.
COMMENT FROM GUSTAF HAGMAN – GROUP CEO
Positive start to 2019
During the first quarter we once again delivered sequential growth and posted record performance on a number of key performance indicators. This, combined with the fact that our customer base is growing in a sound and sustainable way, has given us a good start to 2019. We are maintaining a high pace of expansion and innovation at the same time as we are focusing on cost efficiency and scalability in the Group. This makes us well positioned for a year of continued profitable growth.
First quarter results
Revenue during the first quarter amounted to EUR 86.3 m (77.4), an increase of 12%. Organic growth in local currencies was 4%. Growth during the first quarter continued to be affected by the regulatory tightening that took place in the UK last year. Excluding the UK, organic growth for the Group was 19%, which reflects stable underlying growth in general for the Group. In March we posted the highest revenue and in February the lowest revenue for the period.
EBITDA totalled EUR 7.2 m (9.5), corresponding to an EBITDA margin of 8.3% (12.3%). Our marketing investments remained at a high level during the first quarter, among other reasons to secure our leading position in Sweden. Royal Panda increased its pace of investment following a very low level of marketing during the preceding quarter. We paid EUR 11.5 m in gaming duties during the first quarter, which is an increase of EUR 4.3 m compared with the preceding quarter, which affected the operating margin for the period.
We are seeing positive effects from our highlighted focus on efficiency and cost control within the Group. We continue to work on renegotiating supplier agreements in gaming, payments and marketing, among other areas, where we are benefiting from our size and position as one of Europe’s leading casino operators. At the same time, we are continuously reviewing our internal operating costs and processes. The effects of this work are expected to begin showing gradually in 2019 in the form of increased scalability on a growing revenue base.
Sweden has now been regulated for a quarter. We are generally satisfied with our performance during the period, where we had record-high customer activity and believe to have taken market shares. Our organic revenue decreased by 16% during the first quarter, adjusted for currency movements, partly owing to short-term effects of the market’s regulation in January. At the same time our depositing customer base grew 23% compared with the same period a year ago. Revenue in Sweden during the quarter has been growing month on month, and this trend has continued into the second quarter.
The new regulation in Sweden entailed a number of changes for our customers and for the industry, resulting in short- as well as long-term effects. I’m referring in particular to changes in the customer experience, competition, gaming duties, and new marketing channels and payment solutions. As is always the case when a market becomes regulated, it will take some time for the industry and customers to adapt, and thereafter we expect a more stable and predictable market.
Regulation has sparked an intensive debate on the amount of marketing. We also agree that the volume right now is too high, which at the same time is natural in a recently regulated market in which new players, such as the state-run companies, are launching new products. Therefor we are working to diversify our marketing mix to other channels than commercial radio and TV, and we are conveying the responsible gaming message more in our advertising.
Over time, a regulated market tends to lead to fewer operators. We have already begun to see this trend, as smaller operators are now leaving or reducing their focus in Sweden. This means that the amount of marketing is gradually expected to decrease.
What makes it difficult for the industry to self-regulate is when the government urges operators to apply for licences only to shortly after consider major changes in the terms as soon as the licence system is in place. In this case it applies to marketing. We are now awaiting the findings of a study into how marketing is to be handled. The study is expected to be ready by October 2020, and we are looking forward to clearer guidelines. One should keep in mind that it is in the state’s interest to protect the licence system and its channelisation. The greatest benefit for licensed operators, who pay local taxes and adhere to local rules, is the ability to market themselves. A restriction of marketing opportunities would make it challenging to protect the channelisation.
The UK market remains challenging in the near term, but we are gradually making progress, and our customer acquisition is growing at Group level compared with the preceding quarter. In particular, the brands we have gathered under Rocket X are showing clear improvements, with sequential revenue growth paired with good profitability. Royal Panda, on the other hand, had a weaker quarter in the UK, partly coupled to the lower level of marketing in earlier quarters as well as necessary regulatory adaptations in line with the rest of the Group.
Our acquisitions in the UK have generally resulted in greater complexity coupled to synchronisation of databases, routines and processes between the different Group brands. To manage this in the best way and comply with the regulatory requirements, LeoVegas has an action plan that was initiated last year. LeoVegas takes compliance with the utmost seriousness and is working consistently to ensure a safe experience for our customers in all markets, all to uphold our position as a credible, long-term and reliable operator.
One market that stuck out during the first quarter is Germany, where we expect to be granted extended gaming licences in Schleswig-Holstein, which gives us a competitive advantage. Finland, Denmark and Canada also delivered good quarters, and in Italy we are taking market shares.
LeoVentures’ portfolio companies developed well during the period. The companies are in various phases of rapid growth and investment, but despite this, together they succeeded in making a positive contribution to EBITDA for the Group during the month of March. For the first time, the portfolio company Authentic Gaming also achieved a positive result in March, and it is expected to continue generating profits. In line with previous communication, we are continuing with our strategic evaluation of LeoVentures.
New brand on proprietary multibrand platform
During the quarter we launched our proprietary multibrand platform. Owing to our multibrand functionality, we can now flexibly launch and scale up new brands. The first such brand that was launched is called GoGoCasino. The start and customer response have been positive and are proof of how we are successfully capitalising on the Group’s strengths, experience and economies of scale. During the year we expect to launch GoGoCasino in more markets.
Comments on the second quarter
The month of April has developed well with preliminary revenue of EUR 30.5 m (29.1), representing a growth of 5%. Our current estimate is that marketing costs in relation to revenue will decrease during the second quarter compared with the first quarter.
LeoVegas has entered the second quarter with full focus on sustainable, profitable growth.
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 5069 2180, UK: +44 (0) 20 71 92 80 00, US: +1 63 15 10 74 95, Confirmation code: 2488668 or join at the web https://edge.media-server.com/m6/p/kfovvaak
About the LeoVegas mobile gaming group:
LeoVegas’ passion is “Leading the way into the mobile future”. LeoVegas is the premier GameTech company and is at the forefront of using state-of-the-art technology for mobile gaming. A large part of this success can be credited to an extreme product and technology focus coupled with effective and data-driven marketing. Technology development is conducted in Sweden, while operations are based in Malta. LeoVegas offers casino, live casino and sports betting, and operates two global and scalable brands – LeoVegas and Royal Panda – as well as a number of local brands in the UK. LeoVegas is a global corporate group in which LeoVegas AB (publ.) is the parent company. LeoVegas AB (publ.) doesn ́t conduct any gaming operations. The operational work is carried out in the subsidiaries within the Group. The company’s shares are listed on Nasdaq Stockholm. For more about LeoVegas, visit www.leovegasgroup.com.
Gaming Innovation Group: Share issue
Reference is made to the announcement from Gaming Innovation Group Inc. (GiG) on 15 December 2022 regarding the acquisition of casino affiliate websites Askgamblers.com, Johnslots.com, Newcasinos.com and several smaller domains from Catena Media Plc.
As stated in the announcement, GiG will finance part of the initial consideration through a share issue and the Board of Directors has approved commitments of EUR 10.2 million from a group of investors to finance the equity part of the acquisition. Pursuant to agreed terms, the share price has been set to NOK 25.61, which represent a discount of 2.6% from the volume-weighted average share price for the GiG share so far in 2023.
4,267,112 new shares will be issued, and the number of outstanding shares will increase by 3.5%, from 122,786,526 to 127,053,638. The new shares are expected to be issued and admitted to trading next week and will be issued under the Company’s 150,000,000 authorized shares.
Closing of the acquisition is expected by end of January 2023.
Euromat Adds Spain to its Growing Membership
The European federation of gaming machine trade associations, Euromat, has added Spain to its membership.
The organisation has welcomed the Club de Convergentes as its 14th country member. Novomatic, Merkur, Zitro, Aristocrat and Bally Wulff are among the Club de Convergentes’ members.
Euromat now covers 11 countries and has nine corporate members. Last year it added Serbia and three new corporates into its membership.
Bernhard Teuchmann, president of the Club de Convergentes, said: “Joining Euromat and collaborating more closely with our colleagues across Europe reflects our desire to continue to grow our sector responsibly and ensure that we have the best possible offer for our customers.
“We want to play our role in helping to raise the standards for our industry across Europe and learn from the experience of others.”
Euromat president Jason Frost said: “Having the Club de Convergentes in Euromat is a vote of confidence in our association and its capacity to benefit its members.
“The Club de Convergentes shares our belief that our industry is stronger when working together to share knowledge and expertise, while always making the case with policymakers for a better business environment.”
Spain’s DGOJ to Review “Sales Authorisation” of ONCE and SELAE
Spanish lotteries ONCE and SELAE will be reviewed by the DGOJ – Spain’s directorate for gambling – in relation to how lottery games are marketed and sold to the public.
Spanish gambling and media stakeholders have been informed of the DGOJ’s consultation, which seeks feedback on the “commercial marketing of lottery games” allowed across Spain’s autonomous provinces.
The consultation will be open to responses until March 31, with the directorate highlighting that it required necessary feedback from Spanish media and public vendors of ONCE and SELAE games.
As stewards of Spain’s national lotteries, ONCE – the lottery for the disabled – and SELAE, the lottery for Spanish societies/charities, are allowed to authorise the sale of tickets and games via “public vendors” be it cafes, restaurants, tobacconists, retail shops, etc.
However, the DGOJ has highlighted that in recent years the Spanish public has witnessed an increase in the number of websites and online applications selling ONCE and SELAE games as authorised vendors.
Concerns have been raised on whether online vendors offer appropriate customer protection and guarantees on tickets sold to the public for ONCE and SELAE draws.
Spanish lotteries differ from other European nations, as customers purchase tickets with pre-printed numbers, participating in ballots to win a % share of a community jackpot – rather than the single draw format, which rewards an individual winner.
The unique format ensures that Spain maintains Europe’s most popular national lotteries, featuring the Christmas “El Gordo” and “El Nino” draws, which have distributed over €2.5bn in prizes to customers.
The DGOJ underlined the importance of its consultation to ensure that Spanish lotteries are free from corruption and to protect Spanish consumers from fraud.
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