Record Q4 drives Betsson to full-year growth

14 February 2019

Betsson has reported year-on-year growth across revenue and gross profit for 2018, due in part to a record performance by the business in the fourth quarter.

Group revenue for the 12 months to December 31, 2018, came in at SEK5.42bn (£455.5m/€515.5m/$581.9m), up 15% on SEK4.72bn in 2017. Betsson put this increase down to growth for its casino product in both the Western European and Nordic markets.

Overall casino revenue for the full year amounted to SEK4.08bn, up 19% from SEK3.44bn last year, while sportsbook revenue also climbed 6% from SEK1.14bn to EK1.24bn.

Higher revenue also helped push Betsson’s gross profit up from SEK3.42bn in 2017 to SEK3.86bn for the full year.

Meanwhile, operating expenses increased from SEK2.54bn to SEK2.67bn, mainly due to additional staffing costs. Personnel expenses were up from SEK786.4m to SEK813.9m while marketing expenses also rose from SEK969.6m to SEK994.5m.

However, despite these higher expenses, the gambling group was able to post a healthy operating income of SEK1.12bn, up from SEK882.2m last year. Income before tax climbed from SEK842.9m to SEK1.15bn, while net income was also up from SEK786.5m to SEK1.08bn.

Betsson also noted a rise in EBITDA for the full year, with the amount standing at SEK1.51bn, compared to SEK1.15bn in 2017. As a result, its EBITDA margin was higher at 27.8%.

Analysing the results, CEO Pontus Lindwall (pictured) paid special attention to Betsson’s showing in the fourth quarter, during which group revenue hit a record high of SEK1.44bn, up 14% on SEK1.26bn last year. Operating income also increased 56% year-on-year to a record SEK341.5m.

“For the third consecutive quarter Betsson delivered all-time high revenue and EBIT and proved 2018 to be a turning point,” he said.

Lindwall also hailed the success of the group’s ‘back on track’ programme, which it launched a year ago as part of an efficiency drive.

“A year ago we announced the plan that involved the entire organisation, he said. “Since then, the focus has been on the development of products and technology to continue to deliver the best customer experience. At the same time, there has been a strong determination to improve efficiency in marketing and in internal processes to increase profitability.”

Lindwall also referenced the group’s successful preparations for and launch in the regulated Swedish market, which went live last month. With customer activity currently is in line with expectations, he said that Betsson anticipates long-term growth in the country as the market matures.

“Long-term we expect the market to grow in a sustainable manner and overall we remain positive about industry growth in regulated markets,” he said.