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Evolution AB held an Earnings Conference Call for Q4 2021 last week in a listen-only format followed by questions and answers. Martin Carlesund, Group Chief Executive Officer led the call along with CFO Jacob Kaplan. Carlesund gave a broad overview of the company’s performance followed by a closer look at the financials by Kaplan.
Fourth Quarter revenues were up 69% to €300m with live-gaming revenues increasing by 48.6% year-over-year.
The CEO spoke of an increase of 300 tables for the year bringing the provider’s total to more than 1,000 live dealer casino tables in operation.
“This dramatic expansion would have been an accomplishment under normal circumstances, but taking into account the challenges posed by the pandemic, I am very proud. It is a testament to the talent, capability, and determination that characterizes the global Evolution team,” noted Carlesund.
Pandemic a Two-edged Sword
He went on the talk about two sides to the Pandemic’s effects on the company – on one hand, the company showed its business model was resilient and that more people are coming to the product every day regardless of outside conditions as the company adapted to novel challenges by staying creative and innovative.
The other side of the pandemic is that more people got comfortable with video streaming and overall global connectivity increased while people were at home or even on vacation.
The internet improved in terms of latency going down as providers increased bandwidth and stability to handle the increases in demand.
Carlesund spoke of the continually expanding sphere of regulated online gambling jurisdictions and focused briefly on the Dutch market which opened on the first day of the quarter under review. Evolution is already providing services to more than half of the licensed operators in Holland and expects the number of license tenders to increase in the coming year.
The North American market continued to expand with two new studios in the US states of Michigan and New Jersey as well as RNG games in Connecticut with studios coming to the state this year.
Expanding Global Footprint
Evolution was the first live casino game provider to launch in the newly liberalized Buenos Aires Province online gaming market in Argentina.
Special localized touches were added to games like Baccarat including the “Red Envelope” feature. He pointed to it as an example of Evolution supplying players in different regions with a localized product.
The CEO said that 2022 would be the year for product innovation and pointed to the virtual stage presentation the day before when top team members filled nearly an hour and a half with engaging revelations about the 25 games already in the pipe for 2022 and the balance that will make up their “Great 88” initiative to release 88 games this year across all brands.
Evolution also owns NetEnt, Red Tiger Gaming, Big Time Gaming, live-action provider Ezugi, and Digiwheel, maker of real money wheel games for gambling.
Carlesund also noted that Evolution would release, “... in Q1 – ‘Peek Baccarat’ a unique version of the classic game,” He continued, “During the first half of the year we will also launch big new slot games like NetEnt’s Knight Rider and Red Tiger’s Narcos Mexico. I am very excited of the product roadmap 2022 and truly grateful for all brilliant efforts put into the products by all Evolution teams.”
Where the rubber meets the road the following numbers were presented:
Fourth-quarter of 2021 (Q4 2020)
Operating revenues increased by 69% to EUR 300.2 million (177.7)
EBITDA increased by 115% to EUR 206.9 million (96.2), corresponding to a margin of 68.9% (54.2)
Profit for the period amounted to EUR 171.6 million (80.6)
Earnings per share amounted to EUR 0.80 (0.42)
Full-year 2021 (2020)
Operating revenues increased by 90% to EUR 1,068.8 million (561.1)
EBITDA increased by 121% to EUR 734.7 million (332.2), corresponding to a margin of 68.7% (59.2)
Profit for the year amounted to EUR 605.4 million (284.6)
Earnings per share amounted to EUR 2.83 (1.55)
The Board proposes a dividend of EUR 1.42 per share (0.68)
The CEO also referred to press reports toward the end of 2021 that seemed to have a significant negative impact on the company’s share value and market cap.
According to Carlesund: “Towards the end of the quarter, a dubious, anonymous and falsified report with the clear intention to harm Evolution was published. We have over 15 years experience of operations in regulated environments and we are comfortable and confident in our ways of working, our business model as well as in our constant strive to improve in all areas.”
Source: Evolution AB CEO Martin Carlesund on Q4 2021 Results, Seeking Alpha, February 9, 2022