Aristocrat upgrades H1 earnings forecast amid gaming and digital growth

| By Robert Fletcher
Aristocrat Leisure has increased its earnings forecast for the first half of its financial year after experiencing better-than-expected growth within its gaming and digital businesses.

For the six months to 31 March, Aristocrat said net profit after tax is expected to amount to AUD$346m (£190m/€221m/US$270m).

Normalised net profit after tax and before amortisation of acquired intangibles (NPATA) – excluding the impact of a $19m retention expense associated with the acquisition of Plarium – is set to reach $412m, up 12% on the same period last year.

Aristocrat also said normalised earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) is expected to amount to $750m, which would be 6% higher than H1 of last year.

Aristocrat put this down to growth within its gaming segment, where it said it experienced “exceptional” product performance and customer engagement. The supplier also noted stronger-than-expected consumer sentiment and economic conditions in the US and the Australia and New Zealand region.

In addition, Aristocrat said its business delivered above industry-average growth in terms of bookings, which translated into year-on-year revenue and profit growth. This, Aristocrat said, was due to strong investment in user acquisition, live operations, new game content and features. 

“These results reflect the fact that we have the right strategy, and made the right choices to sustain our investment in outstanding people and product, customers, talent and culture throughout the Covid-impacted period,” Aristocrat chief executive and managing director Trevor Croker said.

“We expect economic conditions across key markets over the full year to remain uncertain, as a result of ongoing Covid-driven volatility. We are closely monitoring key factors including consumer sentiment, gaming venue patronage and currency headwinds. 

“We will continue to rigorously execute our strategy over the second half of fiscal 2021, with increased investment… to support new game launches and existing games and strategic capabilities that will sustain our longer-term growth.”

Aristocrat is due to announce its full results for its first half on 24 May.

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