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LeoVegas looks to the future after closing challenging 2018

Stockholm-listed online gambling group LeoVegas AB recovered from a transitional Q3 period to post a 25 per cent revenue increase to €84.5m for Q4 2018 (1 October to 31 December) trading.

However, the operator’s organic growth in local currencies excluding the UK was just 14%, a figure which, according to Regulus Partners, “represents a material gap down on what the business was able to deliver in a less mature .com environment”.

Following on from Q3, described by LeoVegas as a “challenging quarter for its two largest markets – Sweden and the UK – where the operator’s revenue continued to decrease sequentially during Q4, but with gradual improvements in both revenue and KPIs.

However, there were notable positives in that EBITDA increased from €6.1m to €8.1m, corresponding to an EBITDA margin of 9.6 per cent.

LeoVegas also reported net gaming revenue (NGR) from regulated markets of 33 per cent (29 per cent from Q4 2017), as it sets about hitting a target of 50 per cent for 2019 now that the Swedish market is up and running.

One of the first operators to receive a licence for both casino and sports betting in Sweden, LeoVegas saw record-high customer activity during Q4, with a 28 per cent growth of its Swedish depositing customer base compared with the same period a year ago.

Overall, the number of depositing customers was also up by 29 per cent to 327,156 (253,299 for Q4 2017), while the number of returning depositing customers was 181,747, an increase of 46 per cent across the same period.

However, Group CEO Gustaf Hagman admitted that revenue for Sweden is down compared with the same period a year ago, partly due to high use of welcome bonuses, but also because of some “trim-in challenges” during the first few weeks of regulation, and the fact that players are getting accustomed to certain modifications in the gaming experience.

Hagman added: “2018 was the most challenging year in LeoVegas’ history. We bumped into challenges that we have not previously encountered and saw a slowdown in growth as a result. It was also a year in which we carried out a number of strategically crucial projects that have taken us large steps forward on our growth journey.

“There is much left to do, and there’s no doubt we can and will improve in many areas. We have learned a lot, and our position for achieving our long-term vision – to be the global market leader in mobile casino – is good. Today we are already the most appreciated brand in our home market in Sweden, and we are live in more markets than ever before.

“We are well-invested with our own technology, which makes us scalable and flexible, and we have taken large leaps in responsible gaming and compliance. Our multi-brand strategy is in place, enabling us to rapidly launch new casino brands, and we are ready to expand in more markets in 2019 with an overall focus on cost control and increased profitability.”

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