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LeoVegas AB Q1: Quarterly report 1 January – 31 March 2020

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LEOVEGAS PUBLISHES PROSPECTUS AND APPLIES FOR ADMISSION TO TRADING OF BONDS ON NASDAQ STOCKHOLM
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“LeoVegas advocates for a sustainable gaming industry, responsible gaming and positive social development” – Gustaf Hagman, Group CEO

FIRST QUARTER 2020: 1 JANUARY–31 MARCH

  • Revenue increased by 4% to EUR 89.4 m (86.3).
  • EBITDA was EUR 9.0 m (7.2), corresponding to an EBITDA margin of 10.0% (8.3%).
  • The number of depositing customers was 413,269 (388,747), an increase of 6%.
  • The number of returning depositing customers was record-high 219,841 (200,040), an increase of 10%.
  • Earnings per share were EUR 0.02 (0.00) before and after dilution.

EVENTS DURING THE QUARTER

  • LeoVegas’ Chairman, Mårten Forste, hired as new Chief Operating Officer (COO) in Malta.
  • The Nomination Committee presented its proposal for a new board.
  • The Board of Directors proposed a dividend of SEK 1.40 per share, to be paid on two occasions during the year.
  • LeoVegas reached an agreement with the sellers of Royal Panda on the earn-out payment for the acquisition.
  • Following the COVID-19 outbreak, operations are continuing without significant disruptions. LeoVegas’ employees are working from home, and a travel ban has been issued for employees.

EVENTS AFTER THE END OF THE QUARTER

  • Preliminary revenue in April amounted to EUR 37.6 m (30.5), representing growth of 23%. Growth was positively affected in markets where LeoVegas has carried out product improvements and in markets where the land-based gambling industry is currently shut down. At the same time, the dramatic decrease in sporting events had a negative impact on growth in April.
  • The assessment is that thus far COVID-19 has had a neutral to slightly negative revenue impact for LeoVegas on the Swedish market. Moreover, the assessment is that international revenues have increased somewhat relating to market shares moving from land-based to online gaming.
  • LeoVegas completed the migration of 12 brands in the UK to its proprietary technical platform.
  • The LiveCasino.com brand was launched on 4 May 2020.
  • LeoVegas’ 2019 Annual Report published on www.leovegasgroup.com.
  • LeoVegas has summoned its Annual General Meeting to be held on 8 May 2020. Shareholders who are ill are urged to not attend but can vote via proxy.

 

COMMENT FROM GUSTAF HAGMAN – GROUP CEO

OPERATIONS AND COVID-19
The effects of the COVID-19 crisis are hard to assess, and the conditions are changing constantly. As an entrepreneur I have great empathy for other businesses that have been forced to fight for their survival. For us, the health of our employees and their families is of utmost importance right now. I am incredibly proud of how our employees have handled this difficult situation, which has required that we conduct our operations without significant disruptions even though most of our offices have been closed since mid-March.

The ongoing crisis has had a minor impact on online-based businesses. Gaming online is part of the entertainment industry, and when people can no longer go to cinemas, restaurants and similar, more of their leisure budget can be spent on other entertainment, such as gaming. For LeoVegas, cancelled and postponed sporting events have resulted in a sharp drop in revenue from sports betting, which accounted for 9% of revenue before the crisis. At the same time, LeoVegas has likely taken market shares in casino mainly from the land-based industry as well as from competitors that are more sports book oriented. Our assessment is that the COVID-19 crisis thus far has had a neutral to slightly negative impact on the Group’s Swedish revenues. Moreover, the assessment is that international revenues have increased somewhat relating to market shares moving from land-based to online gaming. At the same time, we are cognizant of the risk for a global recession, during which people’s leisure budgets would likely decrease, in turn affecting the company.

Regardless of the situation in our external operating environment or the economy, we put our customers’ safety first. We are sympathetic to concerns about the risk for problem gaming during the current crisis. We have customer tools that can be used to set deposit and loss limits, for example, and we are actively helping and informing our customers about how to play responsibly. In a digital world, everything is measurable, and we are working proactively with the help of our algorithms to detect tendencies for unsound behaviour at an early stage. This allows us to act before a customer’s gaming becomes a problem. In addition, we are exercising extra restraint in our advertising. Thus far we have not seen signs from our data that problem gaming among our established and new customers has risen, and we are paying great attention at the individual level to ensure that this remains the case.

We therefore feel it is unfortunate that the Swedish government on weak grounds recently proposed a number of new, temporary restrictions in the Swedish market, including new deposit limits. If the proposal goes through, the new limits will undermine the existing legislation and drive the most vulnerable players to the black market, where there is no consumer protection. According to the independent research consultancy Copenhagen Economics, channelisation in Sweden today is only approximately 75% for online casino, compared with the Swedish government’s goal of above 90%, and the trend is declining. Our hope is that the government and authorities focus their work instead on improving channelisation, so that we and other licensed operators can contribute to high consumer protection and help reduce problem gaming. Otherwise there is a risk that the state will once again lose control over the Swedish gaming market.

SUSTAINABILITY TARGETS
LeoVegas has decided to set clear ambitions, targets and measures for sustainability based on Environmental, Social and Governance factors. We have done this to show in a transparent, clear and concrete way what LeoVegas aims to achieve in building a sustainable company and advocating for a sound gaming industry. Today approximately 10% of the Group’s employees work in specific roles in compliance and responsible gaming.

FIRST QUARTER 2020
Revenue during the first quarter amounted to EUR 89.4 m (86.3), representing organic growth of 4%. EBITDA was EUR 9.0 m (7.2), corresponding to an EBITDA margin of 10.0% (8.3%). Unfavourable currency movements resulting from turbulence in our operating environment had a negative earnings impact of EUR 1.4 m. Our operating profit grew 24% compared with the same period a year ago despite negative currency effects and a high level of investment, which confirms that our focus on operational efficiency and cost control is generating the desired results.

TECHNOLOGY
At the end of the quarter we completed the platform migration of 12 brands in the UK. Now all of LeoVegas’ brands in the UK are run on the Group’s proprietary technical platform. The migration has contributed to an improved customer experience through a dramatically expanded game offering, payment opportunities, faster functionality and loading times, and significantly reduced complexity in the daily activities. Owning and controlling our own technology is a major competitive advantage that eliminates complexity, offers faster speed, and provides necessary control and flexibility in the face of the rapidly changing demands for compliance. Our proprietary technology also enables a scalable multibrand strategy, where we launched LiveCasino.com in a number of English-speaking countries in the second quarter.

MARKETS
We have a solid performance with profitable growth in most of our markets. Above all, we are proud that we succeeded at attracting a record-large depositing customer base during the quarter, with sequential growth of 11% versus Q4.

We are now beginning to see a clear effect of the measures we have taken in the UK, and the remaining brands grew in total compared with both the same period a year ago and with the fourth quarter. With all brands now operating on the same platform, we have created a good position to grow in the UK.

Germany continues to grow and is nearly back to the same levels as in September last year, when we were negatively affected by the decision by a key payment services provider to put restrictions on gaming payments. After many years, the German federal states have now agreed to regulate the online gaming market at the national level at the end of 2021. This is a positive development and something that we have long looked forward to. However, there are certain elements and restrictions in the draft regulation that may have a negative impact on the attractiveness for the players and on the player value. Over time this may be compensated by lower competition and greater access to payment options and marketing channels. We are waiting with confidence for all of the details surrounding future regulation in the market and hope that Germany draws from the experiences of other regulated markets to ensure successful regulation with a high level of channelisation. On the whole, the Nordics region had a slightly weaker quarter, which was partly affected by a decrease in sports betting activity at the end of the period and greater restrictions on bonus and deposit limits in the Danish market. In Sweden we continued to gain market share during the quarter. Following the successes in Sweden, a launch of the GoGoCasino brand is planned for the Finnish market during the second quarter.

COMMENTS ON SECOND QUARTER 2020
Revenue for the month of April amounted to EUR37.6 m (30.5), representing annualised growth of 23%. LeoVegas’ favourable performance in April was driven by the successful migration in the UK, a number of improvements in the payment flow in a number of markets, and by a record-large customer base at the start of the period. Moreover, LeoVegas’ assessment is that the company has taken market shares from the land-based gambling industry, mainly in markets where the land-based industry has been totally shut down due to the COVID-19 crisis, as well as from competitors with primary focus on sports betting. Sweden, which has been in the spotlight recently, generated flat revenue growth in April versus the first quarter average monthly revenue and has thus not been a driver of growth at the beginning of the second quarter. At the same time, the assessment is that the total gaming market in Europe has contracted as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

It is hard to predict the long-term effects for LeoVegas, but the longer the crisis continues, the greater the risk is that revenue will be negatively impacted by consumers’ reduced purchasing power. At the same time, an accelerated structural shift is expected from land-based to online gaming, which makes LeoVegas well-positioned for the future.

Finally, I would also like to thank my co-founder Robin Ramm-Ericson, who has declined re-election to the Board of Directors, for his superb work and partnership in building LeoVegas.

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: 7696603 or join at the web https://edge.media-server.com/mmc/p/7q4fhisi

This information is information that LeoVegas AB (publ) is obliged to make public pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation 596/2014. The information was submitted for publication, through the agency of the contact person set out below, at 08:00 CET on 6 May 2020.

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REPURCHASES OF SHARES IN LEOVEGAS

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REPURCHASES OF SHARES IN LEOVEGAS
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During the period 29 November – 3 December 2021 LeoVegas repurchased a total of 30,000 shares in the company within the framework of the repurchase programme announced by the Board of Directors on 27 May 2021 to optimise the company’s capital structure and thereby create shareholder value.

Read more about the board’s decided repurchase program here. The repurchase programme is being conducted in accordance with Nasdaq Stockholm’s Rule Book for Issuers.

During the period 29 November –3 December 2021, shares in LeoVegas were repurchased as follows.

Date Aggregate daily volume (no. shares) Average price per day (SEK) Transaction value per day (SEK)
03/12/2021 30,000 30.74 922,050
Total 30,000 922,050

On 3 December 2021, following the repurchases carried out above, LeoVegas’ holding of treasury shares amounts to 3,357,970 shares. The total number of shares outstanding in LeoVegas is 98,295,000 shares.g

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NOMINATION COMMITTEE APPOINTED FOR LEOVEGAS AHEAD OF THE 2022 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

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NOMINATION COMMITTEE APPOINTED FOR LEOVEGAS AHEAD OF THE 2022 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
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In accordance with the principles for appointment of the Nomination Committee of LeoVegas AB adopted by the Annual General Meeting on 11 May 2021, the Nomination Committee shall consist of five members appointed by the four largest shareholders. The fifth member shall be the Chairman of the Board.

Based on the above, the Nomination Committee ahead of the Annual General Meeting has been determined to consist of the following persons, who together represent approximately 17 percent of the number of shares and votes in the Company as per 30 September 2021:

  • Anders Fast, appointed by Gustaf Hagman
  • Malcolm Lilliehöök, appointed by Torsten Söderberg
  • Pontus Hagnö
  • Robin Ramm-Ericson
  • Per Norman, Chairman of the Board

The Nomination Committee’s recommendations will be presented in the Notice of the 2022 Annual General Meeting as well as on the Company’s website.

Shareholders who wish to submit proposals to the Nomination Committee may do so by email to [email protected] In order for the Nomination Committee to be able to consider a proposal, it must submit well in advance of the Annual General Meeting, but by 1 February 2022 at the latest.

LeoVegas’ Annual General Meeting will be held in Stockholm on 19 May 2022.

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LEOVEGAS AB Q3: QUARTERLY REPORT 1 JULY – 30 SEPTEMBER 2021

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NOMINATION COMMITTEE APPOINTED FOR LEOVEGAS AHEAD OF THE 2022 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
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“Record quarter in Sweden!” – Gustaf Hagman, Group CEO

THIRD QUARTER 2021: 1 JULY – 30 SEPTEMBER

  • Revenue increased by 12% to EUR 99.4 m (88.9). Organic growth in local currencies was 8%.
  • Excluding Germany, growth was positive 31%.
  • EBITDA was EUR 11.5 m (11.9), corresponding to an EBITDA margin of 11.6% (13.4%).
  • The number of depositing customers was 469,721 (438,691), an increase of 7%.
  • Adjusted earnings per share were EUR 0.07 (0.08).

EVENTS DURING THE QUARTER

  • LeoVegas repurchased shares for EUR 2.5 m and paid out the second dividend (EUR 3.9 m) of a total of four quarterly dividends to the Parent Company’s shareholders.
  • LeoVegas expanded its existing bond issue by SEK 200 m.
  • LeoVegas launched new AI-powered functionality to scale up the Group’s efforts surrounding responsible gaming. Customers in the UK were the first to receive product-integrated and personalised messages based on their own behaviours and gaming history.
  • Following recent policy changes in the Netherlands, LeoVegas decided to stop providing its services in the country as from 30 September 2021. The Netherlands accounted for 6% of the Group’s total revenue during the third quarter, with higher profitability than for the Group average. LeoVegas will apply for a licence in the Netherlands during the fourth quarter.

EVENTS AFTER THE END OF THE QUARTER

  • Preliminary revenue in October amounted to EUR 31.1 m (32.8), corresponding to negative growth of 5%. Excluding Germany and the Netherlands, revenue increased by 21%. The sportsbook margin was abnormally low in October, which had a negative impact on revenue, while underlying customer activity has remained strong.
  • The Swedish government has confirmed that the restrictions for online casino remain in effect through 14 November 2021 and will not be extended thereafter.

COMMENT FROM GUSTAF HAGMAN – GROUP CEO

THIRD QUARTER
We are satisfied with our performance during the third quarter and increased our revenue by 12% compared with the same period a year ago. Excluding Germany, which has been dramatically affected by the ongoing re-regulation, consolidated revenue increased by 31%.

All key markets performed well during the quarter, where our home market in Sweden was the brightest star. The favourable revenue growth for the Group confirms that the strategy to simultaneously scale up a number of markets and relaunch the Expekt brand has been a success. The company today is more diversified than ever, and we have succeeded in compensating for the sharp drop in revenue in Germany.

During the quarter we delivered a stable operating profit compared with a year ago, despite a sharp increase in paid gaming taxes and higher marketing investments in relation to revenue compared with a year ago. In pace with growing revenue, the share of marketing investment is expected to gradually decrease from the current levels. At the same time, we have continued to invest in product and technology ahead of forthcoming market expansions, including the upcoming US launch. We are seeing some normalisation of office and travel-related costs as the pandemic is hopefully nearing its end, while general cost control in the Group continues to be good. All in all, we expect – through the economies of scale provided by a larger revenue base – to be able to deliver good earnings growth going forward.

MARKETS
Sweden had a good quarter in which both revenue and the customer base reached new, record levels. The acquisition of Expekt has exceeded our expectations, and the strong growth since its re-launch at the end of May confirms that the brand’s sport profile is appreciated by customers. The LeoVegas brand has also performed well, which shows the power of well-known brands combined with a competitive product. It is positive that the company can show strong performance in one of the world’s most competitive and strictly regulated gaming markets. Other markets that performed extra well during the quarter included Italy, Spain and Canada, all of which grew between 40% -70% during the third quarter.

REGULATION
It is an intensive re-regulation period with simultaneous implementation of local regulations in the Netherlands, Germany, and the Canadian province of Ontario. Internal preparation work is going full throttle to make us ready for the new regulations. In parallel we are conducting development work to adapt our proprietary technical platform ahead of our expansion to the USA next year.

Re-regulation processes can be turbulent and arbitrary. Such has been the case in the Netherlands, when the authorities changed their policies with short notice at the end of September, entailing that all gaming operators that had not yet been granted a gaming licence were forced to stop providing their services in the country. The company’s sales and earnings will thus be negatively affected starting with the month of October. The Netherlands accounted for 6% of the Group’s total revenue during the third quarter, with higher profitability than the Group’s average. LeoVegas will apply for a licence in the Netherlands later this year.

Developments in the market, with numerous re-regulation processes in progress and a number of regulated markets that are implementing new laws and new interpretations of regulations, are creating a somewhat turbulent and difficult to navigate current situation in the gaming industry. However, as the conditions gradually clear, we have a firm positive view on the outlook, as regulated markets create a more sustainable environment to work in, while the long-term growth potential in the online segment of the industry is enormous. The new regulatory environment favours established and well-invested operators like LeoVegas with competitive products, well-known brands and focus on responsible gaming.

COMMENTS ON THE FOURTH QUARTER
Revenue for the month of October amounted to EUR 31.1 m (32.8), representing negative growth of 5%. Excluding Germany and the Netherlands, revenue increased by 21%. The sportsbook margin was abnormally low in October, which had a negative impact on revenue, while underlying customer activity has remained solid.

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