FIRST QUARTER, APRIL-JUNE 2021 (COMPARED TO APRIL-JUNE 2020)
Net sales increased by 66% to SEK 3,426.6 million (2,068.7).
> Net sales of the Games business area increased by 83% to SEK 2,960.9 million (1,622.1). THQ Nordic SEK 668.7 million (487.8), Koch Media Publishing SEK 637.6 million (612.7), Coffee Stain SEK 190.7 million (172.5), Saber Interactive SEK 304.9 million (349.2), DECA Games SEK 145.6 million (-), Gearbox Entertainment SEK 437.0 million (-) and Easybrain SEK 576.4 million (-).
> Net sales of Partner Publishing/Film business area increased by 4% to SEK 465.7 million (446.5).
> EBITDA increased by 59% to SEK 1,532.2 million (965.2), corresponding to an EBITDA margin of 45% (47%).
> Operational EBIT increased by 79% to SEK 1,271.3 million (711.8) corresponding to an Operational EBIT margin of 37% (34%).
> Cash flow from operating activities amounted to SEK 617.3 million (732.3). Investments in intangible assets amounted to SEK 828.7 million (494.5). Free Cash Flow amounted to SEK -259.7 million (204.1).
> Adjusted earnings per share was SEK 2.30 (1.51).
> Organic growth in constant currency for the Games Business Area amounted to 10% in the quarter.
> Total game development projects increased 44% to 180 (125).
> Total headcount increased 98% to 7,886 (3,975) where total game developers increased 101% to 6,387 (3,185).
|Key performance indicators, Group||Apr-Jun||Apr-Jun||Apr 2020-|
|Net sales, SEK m||3,426.6||2,068.7||9,024.2|
|EBITDA, SEK m||1,532.2||965.2||3,985.3|
|Operational EBIT, SEK m||1,271.3||711.8||2,870.8|
|Cash flow from operating activities, SEK m||617.3||732.3||3,899.0|
|Free cash flow, SEK m||-259.7||204.1||1,684.8|
|Total investments in intangible assets, SEK m||828.7||498.0||2,135.2|
|Total game development projects||180||125||160|
|Total internal and external game developers||6,387||3,185||5,115|
|Sales growth, %||66||81||72|
|EBITDA margin, %||45||47||44|
|Operational EBIT margin, %||37||34||32|
In this report, all figures in brackets refer to the corresponding period of the previous year, unless otherwise stated.
CEO COMMENTS:ANOTHER STABLE QUARTER WITH ADJUSTED EARNINGS PER SHARE UP 52%
The Group reports another stable quarter. Both the sales and operational EBIT performance of the first quarter set new records in line with management expectations. The key contributors were the release of Biomutant and the addition of both Easybrain and Gearbox.
Group net sales increased by 66% to SEK 3,427 million (2,069) whereof the Games business area contributed SEK 2,961 million (1,622). The organic growth within Games business area was 10% on constant currency (CCY). On group level, the organic proforma CCY growth in the quarter is estimated to 15%. Operational EBIT grew by 79% to SEK 1,271 million (712). Free cash flow before changes in working capital grew by 36% to SEK 466 million (342) despite an increased investments in game development at a record SEK 770 million (457) to drive future organic growth. Free cash flow after changes in working capital amount to SEK -260 million (204) and was negatively impacted by royalty payments (SEK 464 million) and seasonal variances in trade payables (SEK 372 million). The adjusted earnings per share were up 52% to SEK 2.30 (1.51).
Solid organic growth
We are pleased with the organic year-over-year growth, given that the comparison is made against a quarter with a boost in demand due to pandemic effects. Our growth is supported by the wide back catalog and strong contribution from new releases, despite a difficult comparison with the first quarter last year that included a number of successful new releases. The main revenue driver in the quarter was the release of Biomutant from our internal studio Experiment 101. So far, the game has sold more than one million copies. The full investment into development and marketing as well as the acquisition cost for Experiment 101 and the IP, was recouped within a week after launch.
Looking ahead to the rest of the financial year ending March 31, 2022 we reiterate our forecast to release game development projects with a completion value of SEK 2,875 to 3,325 million in the current financial year. The strategy to put quality first remains unchanged. Games will always be released when the full value potential is deemed to be best achieved. Management now expects SEK 225 – 275 million in completion value during the second quarter to be followed by a gradual increase in activity and for the fourth quarter to become even busier than previously forecasted. Across the group we have numerous new games announcements planned up until December for products releasing current year and future years. Stay tuned!
Whereas the second quarter will mainly be relying on back catalog sales, we expect the strong pipeline of new releases during the second half of the year to be the key driver of accelerated organic growth (CCY) for the full financial year. We are increasingly optimistic about our long term organic growth prospects with more than 180 games under development. Over the next few years, we are confident that our organic growth will continue to significantly exceed the overall gaming market expansion.
Earlier this month, we welcomed CrazyLabs into the family. Our mobile entry is just a year old but we are really glad to have been able to have DECA, A Thinking Ape, IUGO, Easybrain and now CrazyLabs forming a notable business within mobile gaming. Proforma KPIs (incl CrazyLabs) for the quarter ending June is strong with 33 million DAU (Daily Active Users) and 286 million MAU (Monthly Active Users). Total installs in the period were above 200 million. The combined mobile businesses had an impressive proforma organic sales growth of 37% during the quarter. During past weeks we have seen improved projected ROAS (return on advertising spend) and in line with our strategy, our mobile companies will invest as much as possible to drive value enhancing growth.
Building brick by brick together with entrepreneurs
The decentralized Embracer model is all about placing the entrepreneur and creator in the spotlight. Becoming part of Embracer is intended to be about taking the next step in a long journey. Founders and management that we join forces with have high ambitions for the future, and it is Embracer’s role to unleash the full potential of each team and support them with the resources needed to succeed. We are setting bold targets together with the entrepreneurs. The emphasis varies between organic and inorganic growth based on the opportunities ahead and the scalability of the organization. Let me share a few examples of what has been achieved so far:
Coffee Stain became our third operating unit in 2018 and under the leadership of founder Anton Westbergh and his team the business has grown phenomenally well on a purely organic basis, by bringing new, excellent game content to market. Coffee Stain is on a trailing 12 months basis generating 12x higher net sales than at the time of joining Embracer. Now, almost three years later, Coffee Stain added M&A to its growth mix by onboarding two of its indie development partners, including Ghost Ship as a sister company in our business area dedicated to game development with an indie mindset.
Saber Interactive became part of the Embracer family during spring 2020. At that time, the business had approximately 600 developers. Together with founders Matthew Karch and Andrey Iones we set out an ambition to grow the business to more than 1 500 developers over the medium term. By scaling up existing studios and adding new talent through acquisitions, Saber exceeded that target earlier this month with the expansion within the work-for-hire segment, which remains an important growth driver within Saber.
The journey continues
Our strategy to build a diverse and decentralised group that stands on many revenue streams remains unchanged. We see a long runway of growth within gaming, building on our operating groups and we will continue the journey to bring onboard more, talented creators and gaming entrepreneurs. We believe that the larger our independent ecosystem becomes, the greater output we will have over the long term.
We are humbled by the interest among entrepreneurs and creators to join the Embracer family is stronger than ever. We continue to have a large number of ongoing discussions to join, including large or transformative acquisitions that could create new operating groups. Currently, we have approximately SEK 8 billion in net cash and SEK 17 billion in available cash, including credit facilities. Our strong balance sheet will support our growth agenda going forward.
COVID-19 is one of today’s biggest challenges that we must face. As recent times have shown, there are also other challenges in society and in our industry. It is important that we, as an industry, but also as individual companies and as a parent company, each take our responsibility to change these social structures of discrimination.
For Embracer Group our common foundation is our code of compliance, which aims to support inclusion, diversity, and gender equality. Furthermore, we trust that each company in our Group listen, discuss and act. A way to measure and follow up our employees is done via a global survey that allows each employee to answer several questions anonymously.
To conclude, I would like to send my thanks to all our shareholders, employees, customers, industry colleagues and business partners for contributing to the prosperity and success of Embracer Group.