STRONG PERFORMANCE FROM CHERRY GROUP IN 2015
Fourth quarter revenue growth of 72 percent.
The Cherry online and land gambling group enjoyed a good full year 2015, boosted by a particularly strong fourth quarter in which revenues rose a remarkable 72 percent.
Highlights of the company's Q4 results included:
* Group revenue increased by 72 percent to SEK 172.5 million (100.2), with online operations contributing 74 percent (58);
* There were marked increases in profitability,EBITDA at SEK 23.4 million (-6.5) and EBIT of SEK 16.4 million (-10.6);
* Profit after tax was SEK 12.9 million (-15.3);
* Online gaming revenue grew by 109 percent and EBITDA reached SEK 15.4 million (-4.3);
* Online gambling software and game development subsidiary Yggdrasil grew by 696 percent with EBITDA up SEK 4.9 million (-1.4);
* Yggdrasil was awarded a UK operating licence during the fourth quarter and the first customers are expected to go live by the end of Q1 2016;
* In October, Cherry acquired an additional 4 percent of the shares in the Malta-based company Almor Holding Limited – an online casino in German speaking markets. Cherry now owns 75 percent of Almor;
* At the end of 2015, Cherry also acquired 100 percent of the shares in Malta based Moorgate Media Ltd. The company owns affiliate agreements related to the Web Resorts business.
* Cherry also acquired 100 percent of the domain, customer database and website Norgespill.com. The acquisitions are expected to increase Online Gaming’s EBITDA by Euro 1.5 million a year and the total purchase price amounted to Euro 4.75 million.
For the full year 2015, Cherry reported:
* Group turnover up 56 percent year-on-year at SEK 528.7 million (340.0);
* Online contributes 69 percent (55) of group revenue;
* Profitability well up with EBITDA of SEK 35.9 million (-17.9) and EBIT of SEK 13.3 million (-32.9);
* Profit after tax of SEK 6.4 million (-39.3);
* Online gaming revenue grew by 91 percent and EBITDA reached SEK 21.8 million (-18.3);
* Over the year Yggdrasil Gaming grew by 357 percent and EBITDA reached SEK 5.2 million (-4.6);
* During the year Cherry made five acquisitions: Game Lounge, Almor, the domains and agreements of a leading Finnish affiliate, Moorgate Media Ltd and NorgesSpill.com;
* Entering the new year, has applied to list its shares on Nasdaq Stockholm. The listing is expected to take place during 2016;
* Cherry also plans to secure a UK licence;
* Due to acquisitions and investments, the company is to forego a dividend distribution.
Chief executive officer Fredrik Burvall reported to shareholders that the company's online business has achieved particularly strong growth and substantially improved earnings in 2015, with player numbers up 219 percent year-on-year.
Regarding the Yggdrasil subsidiary, Burvall noted that two new agreements were signed and in February 2016 an agreement was also signed with Bet365.
"Yggdrasil has launched new marketing tools for operators, known as "Boost". Among many of the innovations Boost brings is a tool in the gaming client that allows operators to run tournaments between its customers and with other operators," he revealed.
Burvall also claimed that Cherry is the only private gaming operator to have been invited to participate in the reference group discussing new gaming legalization for the Swedish market.
"The latest update is that new Swedish gaming legalization is expected to be in place by July 2018," he advised. "Cherry welcomes a gaming market that is open for everyone with transparent and responsible stakeholders, and we also want to create more jobs in Sweden and compete on fair terms.
"All in all, Cherry is very well positioned to continue to grow faster than the market, both organically and through acquisitions, focusing on rapidly increasing profitability," he concluded.