Aspire Global hails technology impact as 2018 revenue rises
iGaming platform provider Aspire Global has cited the introduction of new technology across its service offering as a key driver of a 45.5% year-on-year increase in revenue for 2018.
Revenue amounted to €104.6m (£91.8m/$117.8m) in the 12 months through to December 31, 2018, up from €71.9m in the previous year.
B2B revenue from partner brands jumped 52.6% year-on-year to €56.6m, while B2C revenue related to proprietary brands remained level at €48m.
Aspire Global cited an extensive technology roll-out at the beginning of 2018, and its subsequent impact on partners and brands, allowing them to operate more efficiently, as the main reason behind this growth.
However, Aspire Global also reported an increase in expenses, with this total up from €56.5m in 2017 to €81.3m in the past year. The iGaming platform provider cited higher royalties to parties, driven by the rise in B2B revenue, as well as marketing and customer acquisition as the main reason behind this increase.
Aspire Global also noted a 46% increase in gaming duties to €4.4m, due to a focus on regulated markets, while administrative expenses were up by 20% to €12.8m, mainly related to staff and services in legal and accounting following M&A initiatives.
Despite this, Aspire Global was able to report EBITDA of €21.2m for the year, up 48.6% from €14.3m in 2017, with a higher margin of 20.3%. Operating income also increased from €13m in 2017 to €19.3m, of which €6m was generated in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, net income before share in results of associated companies climbed from €12.3m to €18.5m, while net income and comprehensive income from continued operations increased from €9.8m to €16.2m.
The Aspire Global board of directors has proposed a dividend of approximately SEK1.27 per share, to be paid for the 2018 fiscal year.
Reflecting on the results, CEO Tsachi Maimon said 2018 was an exciting journey for Aspire Global, highlighting its eight new partnerships and the launch of 13 new B2B sites. The company also launched over 240 new games and secured licences in both Ireland and Sweden.
“We are excited to be up and running in the re-regulated Swedish market, creating a stronger footprint in the Nordics,” he said. “Aspire Global sees considerable growth potential from the modest starting point and is looking forward to initiating new partnerships under the new conditions.”
Maimon also paid tribute to Aspire Global’s positive performance in the fourth quarter, during which revenue increased 71.6% year-on-year to €32.9m and EBITDA 71.4% to €6.6m. EBIT in the three-month period also climbed from €3.5m to €6m.
“December rounded off yet another record quarter in line with our seasonal pattern,” he said. “We maintained strong focus on regulated markets with new licences granted in Sweden and Ireland and finalised compliance for the Swedish re-regulation.”
Looking ahead to 2019, Maimon said Aspire Global has high hopes for the year. He highlighted how the company recently announced updated financial targets for 2019-2021, aiming at revenues of €200m and an EBITDA of €32m.
“Aspire Global will continue to pursue strong growth, both organically and through acquisitions, with a consistent focus on improving the offering, strengthening partnerships and seizing attractive opportunities in regulated markets,” he said.