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Enlabs revenue and profit increase in 2020 despite Latvian stoppage

| By Daniel O'Boyle
Baltic-facing operator and Entain target Enlabs saw revenue grow 27.5% to €50.5m (£43.5m/$61.3m) in 2020 and profit increase by more than 60%, despite being forced to stop operating in its leading market of Latvia for two months.

Gaming made up almost all of Enlabs’ revenue, at €48.0m, up 31.9%, while media revenue was down 22.8% to €1.6m and other revenue totalled €886,000, down 18.6%. 

Enlabs said that 70% of its revenue came from regulated markets, with Latvia as its leading market. 

The year-on-year growth in revenue came despite a complete stoppage in Enlabs’ Latvian operations for much of the second quarter of the year as the country temporarily banned online gambling as it locked down because of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Enlabs paid €11.1m in costs of services offered, up 57.5% and €4.5m in gaming taxes for a gross profit of €34.9m, up 21.1%.

In addition, Enlabs’ operating costs were up 37.8% to €23.7m. Staff costs made up roughly half of this at €11.5m, up 36.9%, while marketing costs came to €7.8m. Other expenses totalled €6.6m while €2.2m in costs were capitalised and therefore eliminated on the balance sheet.

This resulted in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of €11.2m, down 3.4%. After depreciation and amortisation costs of €3.1m, Enlabs’ earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) was €8.1m.

The operator made €6.5m in net financial income, after a €117,000 loss in this area in 2019, for a pre-tax profit of €14.6m, up 55.3%.

After a €521,000 income tax benefit, Enlabs made a €15.1m profit, 60.6% more than in 2019.

Looking just at the fourth quarter of 2020 – the first to include a full three months of activity from recent acquisition Global Gaming – Enlabs made €20.3m in revenue, up 72.1% year-on-year. 

Enlabs chief executive George Ustinov said the increase in revenue was mostly due to an 88% year-on-year growth in active customers.

Gaming made up €19.7m of this total, up 91.3%. Casino gaming revenue saw especially rapid growth, by 152.3% to €16.4m. Betting brought in €3.1m, down 0.6%, and poker revenue dropped 71.4% to €200,000.

Media revenue came to €431,000 and other revenue €181,000.

Enlabs’ costs of services were €4.6m and gaming taxes €1.7m for gross profit of €14.1m.

After staff costs of €4.9m, marketing costs of €2.7m and other income of €3.2m – and after accounting for capitalised costs – Enlabs’ EBITDA was €3.9m, up 22.3%. Its EBIT, meanwhile, was €3.0m.

After a net financial loss of €1.2m, Enlabs’ pre-tax loss was €1.7m, down 32.0%. 

The operator received a €482,000 tax benefit for a profit of €2.2m, down 12.0%.

Ustinov said the business’ future looks strong following the Global Gaming acquisitions. Though Global Gaming saw its licence revoked by Swedish regulator Spelinspektionen in 2019, Enlabs said it was confident it could bring its flagship Ninja Casino brand back to the market.

“The outcome of the integration process is a leaner, more agile and fully aligned organization with a common business roadmap,” Ustinov said. “Enlabs has added Nordic market sales know-how to its team and a global Pay & Play brand to its portfolio. 

“This gives me certainty to say that in 2021 Enlabs will be relaunching in Sweden and will take the Ninja brand across all of its operational markets.”

Enlabs also intends to launch the Ninja Casino brand in the newly regulated Ukraine market. 

In the first quarter of 2021, Ustinov said Enlabs’ gaming revenue was up 99% year-on-year so far.

Early 2021 also saw Bwin and Ladbrokes Coral operator Entain make an offer to acquire Enlabs on 7 January, in a deal worth £250m. The cash offer would see Entain pay SEK40 (£3.48/€3.97/$4.81) for each of Enlabs’ 69.9m shares.

While Entain’s board and shareholders owning 42.2% of Enlabs have backed the deal, shareholders representing 10.7% of Enlabs have rejected the bid and argued it “undervalues” Enlabs.

Enlabs shareholders have until 18 March to make a decision on the offer.

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