Aspire Global releases Interim Report for Q1 2019
Maintaining momentum from the fourth quarter of 2018, the first quarter of 2019 started off with revenues increasing to €33.2 million (18.4) and an EBITDA of €6.1 million (2.8). The B2B segment continued to grow, constituting a larger share of company total – 58.6% of the company’s total revenues and 68.6% of EBITDA for the first quarter.
At the Aspire Global AGM, held on 14th May 2019, Tsachi Maimon, CEO detailed the successes of the group in the last year and in Q1 2019:
"2019 came off to a very good start with revenues exceeding levels of the fourth quarter – quite contrary to our seasonal pattern. The strong progress was a result of improved retention services for our partners as well as a number of medium sized partners undergoing a growth spurt. All-in-all, revenues in the past 12 months are approaching €120 million with an EBITDA approaching €25 million.
"I am happy to see that we managed to maintain our growth momentum in the first quarter, quite contrary to our seasonal pattern and despite the market head-wind. I am especially pleased to see that we are growing our B2B-business, where both revenues and earnings are steadily increasing, constituting a larger share of company total – 59% of the company’s total revenues and 69% of EBITDA for the first quarter. All-in-all, revenues in the past 12 months are approaching €120 million with an EBITDA approaching €25 million, and in the coming year, we are hoping to see a growth spurt for some of last year’s key launches.
After the turn-of the quarter, we finalised the details in a couple of upcoming projects. Up-comer Vipps casino and the well-known betting brand Digibet will both go live on Aspire Global’s platform in H2 2019, with expected effect as of H1 2020. Digibet (previously on another platform) will be re-launched together with NEG Group, while Vipps Casino is an innovation by Vipps Holding, industry veterans from leading iGaming companies. The agreement with Digibet is particularly interesting as it grants Aspire Global access to a German betting license upon coming regulation. Both projects will benefit from committed investments in marketing from their respective founders, but also from Aspire Global through the acquisition of shares where the majority of the investment will be spent on marketing.
"We are taking further steps in our global expansion through the recent development of our Ukrainian office, which will ensure the appropriate infrastructure and flexibility for various market conditions and coming integrations following future growth. In addition to the appointment of a group CTO, who is based in Kiev as of 2019, we will continue to recruit additional tech-talent, more than doubling the Ukrainian working force compared to before.
"We will be strengthening our sustainability work in the coming year based on several focus areas in each of which we have identified our key challenges and set a clear vision going forward. We intend to intensify our efforts over the coming months and to do so in a manner that can be quantified, to enable a clear presentation of our performance as of next year’s annual reports.
"Following the strong performance in 2018, the board has proposed a dividend of SEK 1.27 per share. I look forward to tomorrow’s annual general meeting, where I hope to meet with many of our shareholders."
The figures for Q1 2019 are below:
FIRST QUARTER (JAN-MARCH 2019)
• Revenues increased by 81.0% to €33.2 million (18.4)
• B2B Revenues increased by 100.3% to €19.5 million (9.7), constituting 58.6% of total revenues. Including inter-segment charges, B2B-revenues increased by 95.5% to €21.5 million (11.0)
• EBITDA increased by 116.9% to €6.1 million (2.8), or €6.4 million adjusted for the one-time expense item related to the Swedish penalty
• EBITDA for B2B increased by 129% to €4.2 million (1.8), constituting 68.6% of total EBITDA. Adjusted for the Swedish penalty, EBITDA for B2B was €4.5 million
• EBITDA margin amounted to 18.3% (15.3%)
• EBIT increased to €5.2 million (2.4)
• Earnings after tax increased to €4.1 million (1.9)
• Earnings per share after tax increased to €0.09 (0.04)
• First time depositors (FTDs) increased by 72.1% to 119.1 thousand (69.2)
SIGNIFICANT EVENTS DURING AND AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER
• January 1st 2019, Ziv Shtaeinberg was appointed as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and member of the management team at Aspire Global, leading the technology site in Kiev, Ukraine.
• February 6th 2019, the Board of Directors proposed a dividend on behalf of the 2018 financial year results equivalent to 1.27 SEK per share, subject to the shareholders’ approval.
• April 23rd 2019, Swedish gaming authority Spelinspektionen resolved on a warning and a penalty fee of SEK 3 million (around €300 thousand) following the delayed integration with Spelpaus.
• May 9th 2019, Aspire Global announced the upcoming launch of Vipps Casino together with industry veterans, planned for H2 2019. Aspire Global will be investing up to €1.5 million based on a milestone agreement and the acquisition of shares. Vipps Holdings on their side, will be investing in the tech infrastructure and marketing in order to create unique features for the brand.
• May 10th 2019, Aspire Global announced the upcoming re-launch of Digibet together with NEG Group Limited. Digibet will go live on Aspire Global’s platform in H2 2019, targeting several European markets including Germany. The agreement grants Aspire Global access to a German betting license upon coming regulation. Aspire Global will be investing up to €2.0 million based on a milestone agreement and the acquisition of shares. NEG Group on their side, will manage marketing activities, bringing valuable expertise related to the key markets and acquisition channels.