“Strong end to the year with many growth initiatives” – Gustaf Hagman, Group CEO
FOURTH QUARTER 2021: 1 OCTOBER – 31 DECEMBER
- Revenue amounted to EUR 98.2 m (98.4). Revenues were unchanged compared with the same period last year. Excluding Germany and the Netherlands, revenues increased by 26%.
- Organic growth in local currencies was -4%.
- Net Gaming Revenue (NGR) from regulated markets and markets in which the company pays local gaming taxes was 74% (67) of total NGR.
- EBITDA was EUR 11.6 m (11.5), corresponding to an EBITDA margin of 11.8% (11.7).
- The number of depositing customers was 456,063 (461,983), a decrease of 1%.
- Adjusted earnings per share were EUR 0.07 (0.08).
EVENTS DURING THE QUARTER
- LeoVegas repurchased shares for EUR 2.1 m and distributed the third quarter dividend (EUR 3.9 m).
- Following policy changes in the Netherlands, LeoVegas decided to stop providing its services in the country as from 30 September 2021. As such, the company had no revenue from the Netherlands in the fourth quarter (compared with 6% of the Group’s total revenue during the third quarter). The company will apply for a licence during the first quarter.
- LeoVegas was granted renewed gaming licences by the Danish Gambling Authority.
EVENTS AFTER THE END OF THE QUARTER
- Preliminary revenue in January amounted to EUR 35.5 m (32.5), corresponding to growth of 9%. Excluding Germany and the Netherlands, revenue increased by 24%.
- The Board of Directors proposes an increased dividend of 5 percent to SEK 1.68 per share (1.60), to be distributed on four occasions over the course of the next 12 months.
- LeoVegas applied for a gaming licence for the Canadian province of Ontario.
- The establishment in New Jersey in the US is proceeding according to plan and the recruitment of a local team has begun.
- In January, LeoVegas distributed the fourth dividend (EUR 3.8 m) of a total of four to the Parent Company’s shareholders.
COMMENT FROM GUSTAF HAGMAN – GROUP CEO
I am proud of how we concluded 2021 and how we offset the revenue loss related to the ongoing regulatory changes in Germany and the Netherlands. In the fourth quarter, sales were unchanged compared with the preceding year. However, excluding the two abovementioned markets, growth was some 26%, which demonstrates our strong underlying growth.
Adjusted EBITDA improved somewhat year-on-year, despite ceasing to provide our services in the Netherlands while waiting for a gaming licence, which was previously one of our most profitable markets. At the same time, we have paid more gaming taxes than ever before during the quarter. The improved profit was achieved through good cost control and higher marketing efficiency.
During the quarter and the full-year 2021, we took several important steps as a company, which we expect to drive growth for many years to come. We increased our strategic focus on sport with the acquisition of the brand Expekt. The new launch of Expekt has been a major success, with sales increasing almost fourfold since the acquisition. We are now planning to expand into more markets. We have also commenced establishing operations in the US, where the online gaming market is still in its infancy. We are seeing significant potential for a smartphone-oriented casino expert like LeoVegas in North America, where we already hold a leading position in Canada. We also invested in our own gaming studio during the year. The first games are expected to be launched shortly and over 15 titles are planned for 2022. Our own contents provide us with a more unique gaming experience, greater customer loyalty and lower costs.
We demonstrate a high ability to adapt and continue to drive innovation even when faced with turbulent times. An increasing number of European countries are becoming regulated and some 74% of our revenue is currently regulated and/or taxed. The external market environment will remain erratic and turbulent in places, but we are well-positioned to manage this. Armed with all of our ongoing growth initiatives, I feel optimistic ahead of 2022.
Our underlying customer activity and growth remain favourable. In general, we are growing faster than our competitors in the markets that are not affected by major external events and where equal conditions apply for all operators. A good example of this is Sweden, where we reached a new record level during the quarter. LeoVegas is currently the largest private operator in the Swedish market, something we have accomplished with strong brands, the best product and data-driven marketing. We continue to see favourable growth prospects in Sweden.
As previously mentioned, a re-regulation period is ongoing in the Netherlands and in the Canadian province of Ontario. In the Netherlands, we decided to stop providing services to gamers from 30 September 2021 pursuant to the latest regulations. At the start of 2022, we have applied for licenses in the Netherlands and Ontario we applied for a license in Ontario and will apply for a license in the Netherlands during the first quarter. Our ongoing expansion in the US, with New Jersey as the first state, is proceeding according to plan. We have commenced recruitment of a local team and completed much of the technical development as well as initiated the certification process of LeoVegas’ proprietary technical platform (PAM, Player Account Management). We also began efforts for the expansion into additional US states.
At the beginning of 2022, LeoVegas turned ten years old. The company, our product and the entire industry has developed enormously since my co-founder, Robin Ramm-Ericson, and I, started LeoVegas. Today, the industry is much more complex with more stringent requirements and tougher competition. At the same time, LeoVegas has taken tremendous strides and matured in many areas, making us stronger than ever before. We always aim to be at the forefront of customer focus, technology and data-driveness, but also continue to continually challenge ourselves to be better in all areas. I can affirm that LeoVegas with all its employees will continue to drive the industry forward with the mobile gaming experience in the spotlight. We are continually making progress as we stand on the starting line of ten more intense and exciting years!
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