Tuesday March 15,2016 : AMAYA REPORTS Q4-2015 LOSS
But revenues and player base continue to grow.
Pokerstars and Full Tilt parent group Amaya Inc. has posted a Q4-2015 net loss from continuing operations of Cdn$15.8 million, compared with a Cdn$35.6 million profit in the same period for 2014.
Nevertheless, the Reuters news agency reports that "adjusted" quarterly earnings were better-than-expected at Cdn$111.2 million.
Revenue rose 14.8 percent to Cdn$389.5 million from C$339.4 million.
The company reported that player registrations increased by almost 2 million in the quarter, and the player base overall currently exceeds 100 million.
However, the number of real-money active players fell 4 percent to 2.4 million, which the company attributes to its exit from primarily the Greek and Portuguese markets. Net yield per player fell 2 percent to Cdn$113.
Amaya quantified a revenue saving of Cdn$8.7 million from its controversial changes to loyalty and reward programs, and again committed to redeploying these savings to make the poker operations more attractive to recreational players.
During the quarter the online casino element in the player base increased to 440,000 actives, although most also play on the poker sites, and a mere 2 percent are exclusively casino players. Amaya's plans to boost this side of the business include more intensive casino-oriented marketing.
Interestingly, the mobile channel delivered 40 percent of casino revenues vs. 13 percent in the poker vertical.
The new BetStars initiative in the sports betting sector is off to a solid start, reporting 131,000 active players by the end of Q4, and plans are in hand to expand the subsidiary’s activity going forward…especially in Europe.
Looked at from the FY 2015 perspective, Amaya adjusted earnings in 2015 were up 11 percent at Cdn $587 million; revenue was up 8 percent at Cdn$1.37 billion, and net losses amounted to Cdn$25.9 million (FY2014: profit of Cdn$125.5 million).
The company noted that it has reduced its indebtedness by Cdn 569 million during the reporting year.
Extraneous pressures on the company have included stiff new regulatory costs and taxes in the UK and Europe; legal costs associated with problems with Kentucky and former owners the Scheinbergs; forex exchange rates and investments in diversifying the company's product offerings.
A declining share price has not helped – shares of the company have slipped about 40 percent in the last year.
Current trading in Q1-2016 is up 4 percent year-on-year at Cdn$189 million, the company reported, with online poker delivering 75 percent of revenue so far (Q1-2015: 90.5 percent) as the casino vertical increasingly contributes to the company coffers; sports betting is new and has yet to make an impact.
Amaya chief executive David Baazov's comments on the poker possibilities of the Russian market echoed recent news reports that legalization could be on the cards; Baazov predicts it will occur this year.
He is equally bullish about the Brazilian market, where legislative progress is slow but continuing, and revealed that Amaya intends to enter the newly regulated Portuguese market.
Currently the company is active in 28 European Union member nations, which make up 62 percent of revenues; another 18 percent comes from non-EU countries in Europe, with 13 percent from the Anericas and 7 percent from the rest of the world.
The entry into the New Jersey market later this week by Pokerstars represents a highly visible milestone for Amaya, which has invested almost Cdn$2 million in its long pursuit of a New Jersey licence, and progress will be closely watched.
Amaya investors had already been prepped for the announcement that there will be no corporate predictions on performance whilst Baazov and the board discuss a possible takeover, but the company has already undertaken to hire an independent professional services company to value the group as a whole.