Aspire Global reports strong fourth quarter and full year results

Business News

Revenues increased by 18% to MEUR 71.9 (61.0) and B2B revenues increased by 24% to MEUR 37.1 (30.0).

CEO Tsachi Maimon said, as we conclude 2017, we can see that our scalable offering and dedicated focus on B2B is really paying off, with an overall growth of 18% in revenue and 25% in EBITDA year-on-year. The B2B segment alone grew by 40%. In the fourth quarter, we mobilized to compensate for the income loss from Australia through strong performance in our other markets, while finalizing the upcoming launch of Sportsbook. The fourth quarter is usually our strongest quarter in terms of seasonality, but given the circumstances it was particularly pleasing that December became our best month ever as for revenues.

2017 was a game changer for Aspire Global. We went from being a private player to becoming a public listed company, from having a few key accounts to widening of our customer base, and finally from general expansion to further strengthening our focus on regulated markets.

We are currently active in six regulated markets. Nearly 70 percent of the company revenue in 2018 is expected to be generated from taxed, regulated or soon to be regulated markets. Moreover, we conducted the acquisition of Minotauro media as well as significant investments to support continued growth in the coming years.

Out of our investments, the addition of a sports vertical to our platform is the single most important initiative for organic growth. Despite these events and a series of completed investments for the coming years, we managed to stay focused on our core business, driving organic growth with sustained, strong profitability. Revenues for 2017 increased by 18%, amounting to 71.9 MEUR (61.0), and EBITDA grew by 25%, totaling 14.3 MEUR (11.4), with an EBITDA-margin of 20%.

The fourth quarter was the first full quarter without any contribution from Australia, following the exit in September. Thanks to cost-effective reactivation campaigns we were able to compensate for this loss, well above expectations. Revenue increased by 27% to MEUR 19.2 (15.1) and EBITDA increased by 35% to MEUR 3.8 (2.8). We also launched Mr Play; a new casino and sports betting brand managed by a joint venture of industry veterans. Mr Play was off to a good start in time for the holidays, reaching significant positions in the important affiliates sites.

After a busy ending to 2017, including the fine-tuning of Sportsbook, the new year began with the launch of the sports vertical, where the proprietary brand Karamba became the first operator to offer Sportsbook to its players. Coming B2B launches are expected through Mr Play and Nossa Aposta in Portugal.

We also expanded the game portfolio through the game hub of iSoftbet, including titles from dozens of game providers in addition to the in-house titles. As for Sportsbook, we’re happy to have finalized this major and complex project and the timing couldn’t be better; enabling our partners to get aboard, and ourselves to reach full speed well in time for the World Cup in June. Sports is a central pillar of the company’s long-term growth plan and through this addition, including unique features, we become the first provider of a full turnkey solution to sports betting operators well in time for the World cup, let alone with access to six regulated markets.

We look forward to keep growing organically together with our existing partners, as well as additional partners waiting to get on-board. Having nearly doubled the number of partners over the past year and entered into sports, means we will need to adjust our infra-structure to support a growing business. In the past year, we expanded the technological infra-structure in Malta to ensure increased capacity and we will keep on investing in technology and manpower for continued growth. Entering into sports, which is the largest category of the iGaming field, adds value to our current partners, while opening up for new partnerships and innovative business setups.

We are currently preparing for the upcoming regulation of the Swedish gaming market. In May, 2018, the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) will become fully enforceable throughout the European Union and we are currently fine-tuning minor aspects of the operations to comply with new regulations. The company is already operating on a level that is fairly in line with the GDPR, and has been so for a while. We welcome stronger integrity protection and do not expect any negative implications for our business.

Having become a publicly listed company, we are approached with a growing number of attractive business opportunities; allowing us to be more selective in terms of long-term potential. In this context, we continue to evaluate interesting projects and possible acquisitions as well as potential financing of such, including different sources of debt financing if we determine that the terms for such financing are attractive and enable continued growth. For the same reason, the dividend for 2017 has been set by the board to 3.8 MEUR, equivalent to approximately 30% of the company’s net profit after tax, enabling potential acquisitions ahead.