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Evolution sees FY revenue and profit rocket after record Q4

| By Robert Fletcher
Evolution reported a significant year-on-year increase in both revenue and profit for its 2021 financial year, helped by a record performance by the live dealer and slots giant during the fourth quarter.

Total operating revenue for the 12 months through to 31 January amounted to €1.07bn (£900.0m/$1.22bn), up 90.6% from €561.1m in the previous year.

Evolution said the main reason behind this growth was increased commission income from both new and existing clients. Live casino revenue was up 54.5% year-on-year to €839.2m and random number generator (RNG) revenue rocketed 1,189.3% to €229.5m, the latter being as a result of its acquisition of NetEnt in December 2020.

In terms of geographical performance, rest of Europe revenue amounted to €416.9m in 2021, while Asia revenue reached €286.4m and North America €114.5m. Revenue in the UK was €81.3m and the Nordics €73.2m, while other regions contributed €96.2m.

Evolution also noted a series of major milestones for the business in 2021, many of which helped expand its North American business. These included launching live casino games to the Canadian Bank Note Company (CBN) and Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis (AGLC) for their lottery operations, entering a US gaming distribution partnership with Betway, and launching a dedicated live online casino studio in New Jersey for Penn Interactive.

Elsewhere, Evolution agreed to acquire spinning gaming wheels developer DigiWheel for €1.0m, entered the regulated Dutch market in partnership with operator Janshen-Hahnraths Group, and its Ezugi live dealer gaming supplier secured a licence in Great Britain.

“We exit 2021 with over 1,000 live tables, an increase of over 300 tables during the year, the largest increase in a single year,” Evolution’s chief executive Martin Carlesund said. “This dramatic expansion would have been an accomplishment under normal circumstances but taking into account the challenges posed by the pandemic, I am very proud.”

Looking at costs for the full year and operating expenses jumped 58.7% to €414.8m, leaving an operating profit of €654.0m, up 118.2% year-on-year, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) hiked 121.2% to €734.7m.

Financial costs amounted to €6.5m, which resulted in a pre-tax profit of €647.5m, a rise of 116.9% from €298.7m in 2020. After taking off the €42.1m Evolution paid in income tax, the supplier ended the year with a net profit of €605.4m, up 112.7% year-on-year.

Turning to the fourth quarter and revenue for the three months to 31 December amounted to €300.2m, a rise of 155.1% on the previous year and a quarterly record for Evolution. Live casino revenue climbed 48.6% to €237.4m and RNG revenue 253.4% to €62.9m.

Operating costs widened by 24.7% to €115.7m, but this did not stop EBITDA rocketing by 115.1% to a record €206.9m.

Financial costs were €292,000, resulting in a pre-tax profit of €184.2m, up 119.3% year-on-year, while after taking away the €12.7m paid in tax, net profit at the end of Q4 totalled €171.6m, an increase of 112.9% on 2020. 

“To sum up the last quarter of another intense year – we continue to move full speed ahead,” Carlesund said. “This week’s 2022 product roadmap announcement set the tone for what will be an exciting product year where we will continue our relentless focus to take the player experience to the next level and increase the gap to competitors. 

“Finally, looking back at 2021, a year where several important milestones have been accomplished, I want to take this opportunity to thank and acknowledge the commitment and impressive work from all Evolution employees, who continue to strive to make Evolution just a little bit better, every day. 

“It is an amazing global team and I look forward to an exciting 2022.”

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