MTG delivers on full year guidance with record adjusted EBITDA and strong cash conversion, reports 7% sales growth in Q4

MTG delivers on full year guidance with record adjusted EBITDA and strong cash conversion, reports 7% sales growth in Q4

Stockholm
February 8, 2024
07.30 AM CET
MTG organic revenues grew 3% year over year, driven by strong results from PlaySimple. UA spend was up year over year following the consolidation of Snowprint, but was down slightly on an organic basis, as PlaySimple spread out their marketing investments across the quarters of the year. We delivered a strong adjusted EBITDA and high operating margins of 28% in Q4, on the back of growth and operational leverage combined with a more balanced marketing approach. We repurchased a total of SEK 252 million of shares through the share buyback program that ran between 4 September and 31 December 2023. We also signed an agreement to merge Kongregate with US studio Monumental after the quarter.

Financial highlights Q4       

  • Net sales increased by 13% to SEK 1,571 (1,388) million year over year. Sales were up by 3% year over year organically and would have increased 7% if Snowprint Studios (“Snowprint”) revenue had been included since Q4 2022
  • UA spend of SEK 600 (559) million corresponding to 38% (40) of revenue
  • Adjusted EBITDA of SEK 439 (299) million with an adjusted EBITDA margin of 28% (22)
  • Reported EBITDA of SEK 420 (304) million and EBIT of SEK 259 (121) million
  • Net financial items of SEK -187 (-391) million of which SEK -161 million related to revaluation of the earnout liability
  • Tax amounted to SEK -184 (-61) million
  • Total net income of SEK -112 (-348) million and total basic earnings per share of SEK -0.91 (-2.79)
  • Cash flow from operations in the quarter of SEK 292 (230) million including a realized currency exchange loss amounting to SEK -6 million and cash conversion of 58%

Financial highlights full year 2023 

  • Net sales increased by 5% to SEK 5,829 (5,537) million and were down -2% organically
  • UA spend of SEK 2,254 (2,135) million corresponding to 39% (39) of revenue
  • Adjusted EBITDA of SEK 1,548 (1,373) million with an adjusted EBITDA margin of 27% (25)
  • Reported EBITDA of SEK 1,439 (1,229) million and EBIT of SEK 885 (558) million
  • Total net income of SEK 164 (6,475) million and total basic earnings per share of SEK 1.33 (56.26)
  • Cash flow from operations of SEK 1,258 (868) million including a realized currency exchange gain amounting to SEK 135 million and cash conversion of 59%
  • Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the period amounted to SEK 2,956 (4,733) million. Long-term bank deposits amount to SEK 124 million

Financial overview

(SEKm) Q4 2023 Q4 2022 FY 2023 FY 2022
Continuing operations
Net sales 1,571 1,388 5,829 5,537
EBIT 259 121 885 558
EBITDA 420 304 1,439 1,229
Adjusted EBITDA 439 299 1,548 1,373
Net income -112 -331 164 252
Basic earnings per share (SEK) -0.91 -2.65 1.33 2.70
Diluted earnings per share (SEK) -0.91 -2.65 1.32 2.69
Discontinued operations
Net income - -17 - 6,223
Total operations
Net income -112 -348 164 6,475
Basic earnings per share (SEK) -0.91 -2.79 1.33 56.26
Diluted earnings per share (SEK) -0.91 -2.79 1.32 56.06
Growth, continuing operations
Sales growth 13% 9% 5% 41%
Changes in FX rates 1% 13% 5% 9%
Sales growth at constant FX 12% -4% 0% 32%
of which organic growth 3% -4% -2% -4%
SCROLL FOR MORE

President & CEO’s comments

MTG delivers on full year guidance with record adjusted EBITDA and strong cash conversion, reports 7% sales growth in Q4

We reported healthy Q4 revenues with solid organic growth of 3%. Our growth was 7% when including our newly acquired and fast-growing studio, Snowprint, in the year over year calculations on a comparable basis. On a reported basis, our sales were up 13% year over year in the quarter. We also delivered on our full year outlook, with -2% organic growth excluding currency effects for the full year following healthy organic growth in the second half of 2023.

Our organic growth in the quarter was driven by PlaySimple, which successfully continued to scale both their established portfolio and new games. InnoGames started Q4 with a weaker than expected event in Forge of Empires in October, but delivered a great end of year event, with sales being up year over year in December, which is an important month.

Snowprint, which we acquired on 5 October 2023, is now fully consolidated. Warhammer 40,000: Tacticus grew successfully in Q4 thanks to a very active pipeline of live-ops content coming up to the holiday season, which enabled the studio to capitalize on the appeal and depth of the Warhammer 40,000 IP. We expect Snowprint to continue growing in 2024 and I look forward to seeing the game continue to evolve.

A quarter of strong margins on the back of strong content and disciplined UA spending

We invested a total of SEK 600 million in user acquisition (UA) in Q4, corresponding to 38% of our revenues in the quarter. This included the quarter’s UA spend from Snowprint, which is actively investing in scaling Warhammer 40,000: Tacticus.

When excluding Snowprint, our total UA spend was down slightly both year over year and sequentially. This primarily reflected lower UA spend in Q4 for PlaySimple, both year over year and sequentially, driven by the studio actively spreading their UA more evenly across each of the quarters of the year. InnoGames also invested less in UA year over year, as the studio maintained its disciplined approach to return on advertising spend in the current challenging mid-core marketing environment.

We reported a significant 47% year over year increase in total adjusted EBITDA to SEK 439 million in the quarter, with a high 28% margin. Our profitability in the quarter enabled us to report all-time high adjusted EBITDA for the full year. This was driven by PlaySimple’s growth, higher operating leverage across the business, high margins from Ninja Kiwi, and the great job done by the team at InnoGames following the restructuring in April. The studio has successfully managed to reduce their cost base, while delivering events that engage and reactivate established players, which has resulted in a higher proportion of high-margin revenues from browser, as well as healthy spending levels on events in Forge of Empires from established players.

We delivered a cash conversion of 58% in Q4 and 59% for the full year 2023. This reflected the continued high cash generation levels in the business. The cash conversion for the full year was at the top end of our guided range of 50-60%.

We enter 2024 confident in our ability to drive growth and utilize our cash to create shareholder value

We expect the North American and European in-app purchase market to have continued the positive recovery trend we observed in the first nine months of the year, with mid-single digit growth in Q4, driven primarily by the casual segment. We also expect our IAP market to have been up slightly on a sequential basis. This means that we have entered 2024 supported by somewhat more positive IAP market dynamics, even if some of our specific genres remain challenging. We have reported organic growth two quarters in a row and are confident about our prospects during 2024, driven by our portfolio of high-quality IPs.

We have a very exciting pipeline of new games planned for 2024 and beyond. This includes Hutch scaling Forza Customs, which was launched in Q4, as well as the upcoming launches of NASCAR Manager from Hutch, Bloons Card Storm and another title from Ninja Kiwi, more new games from PlaySimple and new initiatives from InnoGames.

We are happy to have found a solution which will help Kongregate continue to work towards bringing their gaming vision to life. They are now starting the work to combine with Monumental, and we look forward to being part of their future journey.

We continue to have a strong balance sheet, which will help us explore opportunities for accretive M&A during the year. M&A continues to be an important part of our overall growth strategy and we are well-positioned to attract top talent and high-quality studios to our Gaming Village. At the same time, our focus is and has always been on finding the right balance between M&A and continued shareholder returns.

We are pleased to have returned nearly SEK 500 million to our shareholders in 2023 through share buybacks, ensuring that MTG has continued to generate shareholder value throughout the year.

We are proud to have delivered a strong 2023 and to end the year on a high note. We enter 2024 with a healthy competitive position and I believe that we have the right people and the right games to continue delivering profitable growth to our shareholders.

Thank you for following our progress and speak soon!

Maria Redin

Group President & CEO, Modern Times Group MTG AB  

2023 outlook delivered

MTG’s 2023 outlook was for full year sales to be within the range of -3% to +2% after adjusting for currency effects. The outlook for adjusted EBITDA margin for the year was 25% to 27%, slightly above our long-term outlook of 23% to 25%. MTG subsequently reported an organic growth of -2% and 27% adjusted EBITDA margin for the full year 2023.

The outlook for 2023 excluded the contribution from Snowprint, which was acquired on 5 October 2023.  

We expect to provide an annual outlook in our Q1 results in April.

Our long-term outlook is for an organic revenue CAGR of 7% to 10%, with an estimated average adjusted EBITDA margin of 23% to 25%. We also continue to expect to deliver post-tax cash conversion levels of 50-60% on an annualized basis.

Shareholder information

MTG’s Annual General Meeting 2024

The Annual General Meeting will be held on 16 May 2024 in Stockholm. Shareholders wishing to have matters considered at the Annual General Meeting should submit their proposals in writing either by post to the “Company Secretary”, Modern Times Group MTG AB (publ), Annual General Meeting, P.O. Box 2094, SE-103 13 Stockholm, Sweden or by email to agm@mtg.com at least seven weeks before the Annual General Meeting in order for the proposal to be included in the notice of the meeting. Further details on how and when to register will be published in advance of the meeting.

Nomination Committee ahead of Annual General Meeting 2024

In accordance with the resolution by the Annual General Meeting of MTG shareholders regarding the procedure for the Nomination Committee, a Nomination Committee has been convened to prepare proposals for the 2024 Annual General Meeting.

The Nomination Committee comprises: Christian Rauda, appointed by EHM Holding GmbH; Klaus Roehrig, appointed by Active Ownership Corporation; Malin Björkmo, appointed by Handelsbanken; and Simon Duffy, Chairman of the Board.

In line with past practice, the members of the Committee have appointed Christian Rauda, representing the largest shareholder on the last business day of August 2023, as Committee Chairman.

Please see the following section on MTG.com for information about the work of the Nomination Committee.

Shareholders wishing to propose candidates for election to the MTG Board of Directors should submit their proposals in writing to agm@mtg.com or to the “Company Secretary”, Modern Times Group MTG AB, Box 2094, SE-103 13 Stockholm, Sweden.

Financial calendar

Item Date
Q1 2024 Interim Financial Results report 24 April 2024
Annual General Meeting 2024 16 May 2024
Q2 2024 Interim Financial Results report 18 July 2024
Q3 2024 Interim Financial Results report 24 October 2024
SCROLL FOR MORE

Questions?

Anton Gourman, VP Communications          Direct: +46 73 661 8488, anton.gourman@mtg.com

Follow us: mtg.com / LinkedIn

Conference call 

MTG will host a livestream and conference call at 15.00 CET today, on 8 February 2024. The call will be held in English.

How to join:

  • To participate via livestream, please use this link.
  • To join via phone, please register using this link. After you’ve registered, you’ll receive the dial-in number and conference ID to access the teleconference.
  • You can ask questions via phone during the teleconference or by using the livestream Q&A tool.

Modern Times Group MTG AB (publ) – Reg no: 556309-9158 – Phone: +46 (0) 8-562 000 50

MTG (Modern Times Group MTG AB (publ)) (www.mtg.com) is an international mobile gaming group that owns and operates gaming studios with popular global IPs across a wide range of casual and mid-core genres. The group is focused on accelerating portfolio company growth and supporting founders and entrepreneurs. MTG is an active driver of gaming industry consolidation and a strategic acquirer of gaming companies around the world. We are born in Sweden but have an international culture and global footprint. Our shares are listed on Nasdaq Stockholm (“MTGA” and “MTGB”).

This information is information that Modern Times Group MTG AB (publ) is obliged to make public pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation. The information was submitted for publication, through the agency of the contact persons set out above, at 7:30 CET on February 8, 2024.

This interim report contains statements concerning, among other things, MTG’s financial condition and results of operations that are forward-looking in nature. Such statements are not historical facts but, rather, represent MTG’s future expectations. MTG believes that the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions; however, forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties, and a number of important factors could cause actual results or outcomes to differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statement. Such important factors include but may not be limited to MTG’s market position; growth in the gaming industry; and the effects of competition and other economic, business, competitive and/or regulatory factors affecting the business of MTG, its group companies and the gaming industry in general. Forward-looking statements apply only as of the date they were made, and, other than as required by applicable law, MTG undertakes no obligation to update any of them in the light of new information or future events.

Downlad the press files:
MTG Q4 2023 Full Year Report ENG