Rovio Entertainment Corp.: Games revenue grew 5.7% in 2019. Angry Birds Dream Blast continued to grow in Q4.
Rovio Entertainment Corporation Stock Exchange Release February 12, 2020 at 09:00 a.m. EET
Games revenue grew 5.7% in 2019. Angry Birds Dream Blast continued to grow in Q4.
October-December 2019 highlights
·Rovio group revenue was EUR 71.6 million (72.7) and declined -1.4% year-on-year
·Games revenue grew by 2.3% year-on-year to EUR 66.7 million (65.2). In comparable currencies, games revenue grew approximately by 1%. The Games gross bookings were EUR 67.0 million (66.7) or 0.5% growth year-on-year. In comparable currencies the gross bookings declined by approximately 1%.
·Angry Birds Dream Blast, launched on 24th January 2019, gross bookings grew to EUR 18.8 million and the gross bookings of Rovio’s largest game Angry Birds 2 stabilized at EUR 24.9 million.
·User acquisition investments were EUR 27.5 million (23.3), or 41.3% of the Games segment’s revenue (35.7%)
·Brand Licensing revenue was EUR 4.9 million (7.5) and declined -34.4% year-on-year
·Group adjusted operating profit was EUR 0.2 million (5.3) and adjusted operating profit margin 0.3% (7.2%)
·Group adjusted operating profit excluding Hatch Entertainment was EUR 3.2 million (8.2) and adjusted operating profit margin 4.5% (11.2%)
·Operating cash flow was EUR 3.1 million (19.2)
·Earnings per share was EUR -0.01 (0.05)
January-December 2019 highlights
·Rovio’s revenue was EUR 289.1 million (281.2) and grew 2.8% year-on-year
·Games revenue grew 5.7% to EUR 264.8 million (250.4). In comparable currencies, the revenue growth was approximately 3%. The Games gross bookings were EUR 263.2 million (253.3) and grew 3.9% growth year-on-year. In comparable currencies the gross bookings were approximately stable year-on-year.
·Angry Birds Dream Blast, launched on 24th January 2019, accumulated gross bookings of EUR 57.6 million during the review period and Rovio’s largest game Angry Birds 2 reached total gross bookings of EUR 108.4 million (117.3)
·User acquisition investments were EUR 99.7 million (78.6), or 37.7% of the Games segment’s revenue (31.4%)
·Brand Licensing revenue was EUR 24.3 million (30.8) and declined -21.1% year-on-year
·Group adjusted operating profit was EUR 18.3 million (31.9) and adjusted operating profit margin 6.3% (11.1%)
·Group adjusted operating profit excluding Hatch Entertainment was EUR 29.2 million (38.4) and adjusted operating profit margin 10.1% (13.7%)
·Operating cash flow was EUR 10.5 million (42.6)
·Earnings per share was EUR 0.17 (0.31)
|Adjusted EBITDA margin, %*||4.1%||11.9%||-||11.3%||16.9%||-|
|Operating profit margin, %*||-0.1%||8.1%||-||6.3%||11.2%||-|
|Adjusted operating profit*||0.2||5.3||-96.5%||18.3||31.2||-41.2%|
|Adjusted operating profit margin, %*||0.3%||7.2%||-||6.3%||11.1%||-|
|Profit before tax||-0.7||6.2||-111.1%||17.7||32.2||-45.0%|
|Return on equity (ROE), %||10.8%||21.5%||-||10.8%||21.5%||-|
|Net gearing ratio, %*||-65.7%||-75.3%||-||-65.7%||-75.3%||-|
|Equity ratio, %*||80.5%||83.7%||-||80.5%||83.7%||-|
|Earnings per share, EUR||-0.01||0.05||-116.3%||0.17||0.31||-46.5%|
|Earnings per share, diluted EUR||-0.01||0.05||-116.4%||0.17||0.31||-46.0%|
|Net cash flows from operating activities*||3.1||19.2||-83.6%||10.5||42.6||-75.3%|
|Employees (average for the period)||468||401||16.7%||450||388||15.9%|
*Not fully comparable due to IFRS 16 adoption in 2019. See Note 1 for details.
Unless otherwise stated, the comparison figures in brackets refer to the corresponding period in the previous year. Calculations and definitions are presented in the Performance Measures section.
The changes in comparable currencies have been calculated by translating the reporting period figures with the average USD/EUR exchange rates of the comparison period for the US dollar dominated in-app-purchases in United States and global ad network sales.
The parent company’s distributable funds on 31.12.2019 amount to EUR 165,584,072.51, of which the profit for the period is EUR 20,693,929.04. The Board of Directors proposes to the Annual General Meeting to be held on March 31, 2020 that a dividend of EUR 0.09 per share be paid (EUR 0.09 for 2018).
Based on the number of shares outstanding as of the balance sheet date, December 31, 2019, the total amount of the dividend is EUR 7,165,035.27.
Kati Levoranta, CEO
Rovio’s group revenue in the fourth quarter of 2019 was EUR 71.6 (72.7) million which was -1.4% lower year-on-year. Rovio Games revenue and gross bookings reached a new record and were EUR 66.7 million (65.2) and EUR 67.0 million (66.8), respectively. Angry Birds Dream Blast, which was released in January 2019, continued to grow and reached EUR 18.8 million gross bookings. The 2019 full year gross bookings of Angry Birds Dream Blast were EUR 57.6 million and it was Rovio’s fastest growing free-to-play game ever. In an increasingly competitive market this is a great achievement from the team and shows both Rovio’s ability to bring innovative games to a broad audience and the continuing success of the Angry Birds franchise in mobile games.
Group full year revenue was EUR 289.1 million and grew 2.8%. The adjusted operating profit was EUR 18.3 million and the adjusted operating profit margin 6.3% landing within the guidance range 5-8%. The full year revenue was slightly lower than the guidance range EUR 295 - 310 million mainly due to lower Brand Licensing Unit revenues in Q4. The Brand Licensing Unit revenues in Q4 amounted to EUR 4.9 million (7.5) and declined -34.4% year-on-year.
During Q4, the Brand Licensing Unit was restructured and merged with the marketing organization to improve efficiency and profitability. Consumer products licensing will focus on our top licensees, product categories, and territories. In content licensing, Angry Birds Movie 2 is now available on-demand and will be coming to TV distribution starting Q1/2020, and a new long-form Angry Birds animated series slated for release in H2/2021.
The Group adjusted operating profit in the reporting period was EUR 0.2 (5.3) million and the adjusted operating profit margin 0.3% (7.2%). The lower operating margin in this quarter was as expected due to the increased investments in user acquisition.
In September 2019, Rovio released a new game called Sugar Blast, which is a spin-off of Angry Birds Dream Blast with a new IP. While Sugar Blast has not scaled its revenue as fast as the original game, this has been a good learning on how Rovio can be agile and fast in bringing new IP to the market and reaching out to new audiences. During Q4, Sugar Blast reached a yearly gross booking run-rate of nearly EUR 10 million and the team continues to improve the game during 2020.
The user acquisition investments in the reporting period were EUR 27.5 million (23.3) or 41.3% of games revenues. The user acquisition investments were mostly directed to the growth games i.e. Angry Birds Dream Blast and Sugar Blast. During the end of the year we scaled down user acquisition investments significantly as the returns on those investments were not meeting our payback model expectations. Our user acquisition investments in the beginning of 2020 are at much lower level than during Q3 and Q4 last year. We naturally will invest more in user acquisition if we see an opportunity in the market, improvement in live games performance or when we launch a new game.
Our games roadmap continues to be very exciting. At the moment, we have three games with a new IP in soft launch. One of the games in soft launch in 2019, Angry Birds Pop Blast, was discontinued during January as based on the soft launch data we did not see an opportunity to scale the game to a satisfactory level with user acquisition. While it is too early to estimate exact global launch dates for new games, given the current progress we aim to launch 1-3 new games in 2020.
In 2019 we announced that we would explore alternative financial structures and partnerships for Hatch Entertainment Ltd., Rovio’s 80% owned subsidiary developing a cloud-based game streaming service in order to accelerate its growth. We have decided to end the 2019 financing round and we are evaluating strategic alternatives for Hatch.
The competition in game streaming has intensified during 2019 while 5G networks and devices rollout has been slower than expected. Due to the changes in the operating environment Hatch Entertainment decided to focus its strategy. Going forward, Hatch will focus on Hatch Kids, a subscription and streaming based digital entertainment and edutainment service tailored for children and families. Hatch Kids is in soft launch in Finland and Sweden on Android and we have seen positive early performance. Hatch is planning to restructure its operations to align with the updated strategy and this is planned to lead to an annualized cost savings of approximately EUR 6 million.
Outlook for 2020
During 2020 we aim to launch 1-3 new games. The timing of new game launches depends on how the games progress in soft launch. Therefore, we do not give a full year 2020 revenue guidance. We start the year at a lower user acquisition level than we ended last year. Due to lower user acquisition investments and the planned cost savings in Hatch Entertainment Ltd., our adjusted operating profit improves.
Basis for outlook
Our strategy is to seek growth in the Games business through improving the performance of our key games and developing new games.
Brand Licensing segment is optimized for profit at a lower revenue which is expected to decline approximately 50% year-on-year in 2020.
Hatch Entertainment annualized expenses are expected to be approximately EUR 5 million (2019: EUR 10.9 million) on an adjusted basis after restructuring and aligning with its new strategy.
More detailed outlook per games category is given below:
Grow: We believe Angry Birds Dream Blast will grow on an annual basis but starts the year at a lower quarterly run-rate compared to the end of 2019. The game has a strong feature roadmap focusing on improvements to long term retention and monetization. We are continuing to develop Sugar Blast through live operations for its core audience and improve retention and monetization in order to scale the game up.
Earn: The revenues of Angry Birds 2 stabilized despite much lower user acquisition investments y-on-y. We further focus on improving the performance of the game through introducing new updates that increase engagement with our core users. The revenue of other games (Angry Birds Match, Angry Birds Friends and Angry Birds Pop) is expected to continue decline at a steady slow pace. We have lowered or stopped user acquisition investments into these three games.
Catalogue: We expect these games to continue declining over time. They still receive substantial organic downloads, but the active user base and revenues are expected to decline over time as we do not develop these games further.
New games: We aim to launch 1-3 new games in 2020. Currently we have three games in soft launch and several games in other phases of production.
Games in soft launch are available in a selected number of countries and operated with a limited number of gamers. Soft launch games have advanced far in the game development process. They are being tested and developed in order to verify their commercial potential and scalability. There is no guarantee that games in soft launch will be published.
Audiocast and conference call
Rovio will host an English language audiocast and conference call on the fourth quarter and full year 2019 financial results, including a Q&A session for analysts, media and institutional investors at 14:00-15:00 EET on February 12, 2020. The audiocast can be viewed live at: http://www.rovio.com/investors-investor-calendar and later on the same day as a recording.
Conference call details:
Finland: +358 981 710 310
Sweden: +46 856 642 651
United Kingdom: +44 333 300 0804
United States: +1 855 857 0686
Kati Levoranta, CEO, tel. +358 40 485 8985
René Lindell, CFO, tel. +358 40 485 8985
Distribution: Nasdaq Helsinki, key media, www.rovio.com
Rovio in brief:
Rovio Entertainment Corporation is a global, games-first entertainment company that creates, develops and publishes mobile games, which have been downloaded 4.5 billion times so far. Rovio is best known for the global Angry Birds brand, which started as a popular mobile game in 2009, and has since evolved from games to various entertainment and consumer products in brand licensing. Today, Rovio offers multiple mobile games, animations and has produced The Angry Birds Movie, which opened number one in theatres in 50 countries. Its sequel, The Angry Birds Movie 2, released worldwide in August 2019. Rovio is headquartered in Finland and the company's shares are listed on the main list of NASDAQ Helsinki stock exchange with the trading code ROVIO. (www.rovio.com )