An exceedingly strong quarter that showed the value of our diversified global footprint
Catena Media plc: Interim Report January - September 2021
Highlights of the third quarter of 2021
- Operating revenue was EUR 33.1m (24.9), an increase of 33 percent.
- Organic growth was 23 percent, or 34 percent excluding the now-regulated German sports betting and casino market.
- New depositing customers (NDCs) totalled 153,701 (94,710), an increase of 62 percent.
- Revenue from North American sports betting and casino rose by 124 percent and accounted for 51 percent (30) of group revenue.
- Adjusted EBITDA increased by 33 percent and totalled EUR 16.0m (12.0), corresponding to an adjusted EBITDA margin of 48 percent (48).
- EBITDA, including items affecting comparability of EUR 1.1m (-0.2), increased by 23 percent and totalled EUR 14.9m (12.2), equal to an EBITDA margin of 45 percent (49).
- Earnings per share were EUR -0.51 (0.05) before dilution and EUR -0.34 (0.03) after dilution, reflecting the one-off EUR 49.4m impairment charge recognised during the quarter.
- Operating cash flow increased by 17 percent to EUR 9.9m (8.5).
- Cash and cash equivalents totalled EUR 28.6m (45.4) on 30 September.
- Net interest-bearing liabilities (NIBL) were EUR 59.3m (67.4) on 30 September, resulting in a leverage ratio (NIBL/adjusted EBITDA) of 0.87 (1.32).
- On 14 July, an extraordinary general meeting resolved to authorise the company to acquire its own shares.
- On 9 September Catena Media announced the acquisition of North American online sports betting and casino affiliation assets from i15 Media, LLC, for a total purchase price of USD 45 million.
- From 13 September to 15 October, the group repurchased 1,504,810 of Catena Media ordinary shares, resulting in a cash outflow of EUR 8.6m.
Highlights of the first nine months 2021
- Operating revenue was EUR 104.2m (79.4), an increase of 31 percent.
- Organic growth was 29 percent, or 42 percent excluding the now-regulated German sports betting and casino market.
- New depositing customers (NDCs) totalled 451,272 (318,565), an increase of 42 percent.
- Revenue from North American sports betting and casino rose by 122 percent and accounted for 49 percent (29) of group revenue.
- Adjusted EBITDA increased by 41 percent and totalled EUR 56.0m (39.7), corresponding to an adjusted EBITDA margin of 54 percent (50).
- EBITDA, including items affecting comparability of EUR 5.1m (2.0), increased by 35 percent and totalled EUR 50.9m (37.7), equal to an EBITDA margin of 49 percent (47).
- Earnings per share were EUR -0.18 (0.08) before dilution and EUR -0.12 (0.05) after dilution and reflected the one-off EUR 49.4m impairment charge recognised in Q3.
- Operating profit was negatively impacted by a non-cash impairment on intangible assets of EUR 49.4 (zero). EUR 42.8m related to German sports assets acquired between 2016 and 2018 while EUR 6.6m pertained to French sports assets acquired in 2018.
- Operating cash flow increased by 27 percent to EUR 47.1m (37.1).
Significant events after the period
- On 19 October Catena Media announced preliminary results for the third quarter and an impairment charge on German and French sports assets.
- The company issued 2,207,357 new shares with a value of USD 12.5 million as part-payment of the i15 media assets acquisition.
- In October, total revenue grew 21 percent, or 36 percent excluding the German sports betting and casino market, compared to the same month last year. Revenue from North American sports betting and casino grew 125 percent.
CEO Michael Daly’s comments
For Catena Media, Q3 was an exceedingly strong quarter that highlighted the value of our global diversification strategy across sports betting and casino. Triple-digit growth in North America and a doubling of revenue in Japan were the principal drivers behind a 33 percent increase in group revenue and also a 33 percent jump in adjusted EBITDA.
The results underscore the benefits of Catena Media’s mission to develop a broad international footprint across key sports betting and casino territories, an approach that enables us to offset challenges in one market with gains in another. Our strong performance so far this year provides a good starting point to deliver on the long-term target of double-digit organic revenue growth in 2022 as well.
In Q3, the strength of our North American and Japanese businesses more than counterbalanced a customary seasonal dip in Sports and regulatory challenges in Europe. Our North American operation continued to blossom, reflecting our winning strategy of organic growth complemented by targeted strategic acquisitions such as the online sports betting and casino affiliation assets acquired from i15 Media in September. This portfolio addition was timed to coincide with the start of the NFL season and, together with our acquisition of the Lineups.com website in Q2, helped maximise revenue from the league opening.
The launch of regulated sports betting in Arizona in September provided further positive impetus, aided by our successful advance planning and market positioning there. The North American market outlook is bright as we enter Q4 but I would caution against excessively high expectations given that initial spikes in player activity invariably recede in the months after a state launch. Nevertheless, we expect Arizona to remain a productive revenue source going forward, just as Michigan and Virginia have become solid and significant performers since launching earlier this year. A number of US states, including Louisiana, Maryland and Connecticut, and the Canadian province of Ontario are preparing to open for regulated iGaming (sports betting and/or casino) in the near term. Notwithstanding that some of these upcoming locations are relatively small markets, we have strong operational readiness in all of them.
I am happy with the contributions from both Lineups.com and our i15 Media assets and look forward to leveraging their capabilities. We have begun to see revenue synergies, via operator deal consolidations, from Lineups and are continuing to align that business with Catena Media while working to integrate our i15 Media assets in similar fashion over the coming months.
We have ambitious plans for the Asian market, where Japan reported record year-on-year revenue during the quarter, a significant milestone for the group. Japan is an advanced and competitive casino market where Catena Media’s affiliate activities are gaining ground and generating increased traffic for our partner operators as we broaden our website content offer beyond traditional affiliation platforms into social media and online video. We remain a relatively small player in Japan and see considerable upside potential ahead.
Progress in multiple markets such as Japan and our investments in – and onward development of – our global brands such as AskGamblers, JohnSlots and Esports.net will, as they grow, offset the cyclicality of our Sports business and help cushion against issues and headwinds in particular markets. The most significant challenges during the quarter were in Germany, where government regulation of online gaming came into force on 1 July. The new licensing framework led us to review the value of our German assets and take a EUR 42.8m writedown and equivalent impairment charge, alongside a EUR 6.6m writedown and impairment charge on French assets.
In Germany, the impairment charge reflected our assessment of the outlook for future growth based on what we see so far in terms of operator regulation and its impact on our products and player activity. Germany is now a different market, but one that offers long-term promise once the regulatory environment clarifies, the market adjusts and our investments in redeveloping our German sports and casino products begin to bear fruit. Nevertheless, the upward climb will be slow.
Overall in Europe, the Euros football championship provided a boost for Sports in a traditionally slow quarter due to the summer off-season. In Casino, a long-term product transformation process continued to advance in Germany and Italy, alongside content-focused and accelerated search engine optimisation measures in our global portfolio of casino assets. We are still early in the process but the initial indications are favourable.
Italy reported positive performance in Sports and identified further areas for product development to ensure growth in the years ahead. In the Netherlands, which opened its regulated online iGaming market on 1 October, after the end of the quarter, we expect the growth trajectory to be shallow initially due to ongoing regulatory restrictions on some operators. It remains to be seen how rapidly the market evolves in the months ahead.
In Latin America, a region where we see high long-term potential and where we now have more than a dozen websites, we observed further signs of market development. There and across our regions we continue to invest with a long-term mindset for future success and to diversify across platforms.
Financially, the group stands on a solid foundation. During the quarter we commenced a share buyback programme to optimise our capital structure by returning capital to shareholders. The acquisition of i15 Media assets underlined our ongoing readiness to use our financial strength when attractive business opportunities arise. That said, I foresee our growth in the coming months as being largely organic as we accelerate the exciting journey of internationalising our products and becoming a truly global force in our industry.
Presentation of Catena Media’s second quarter results
A combined audiocast and telephone conference with the opportunity to ask questions will be held at 09:00 CET on the same day, with CEO Michael Daly and Group CFO Peter Messner presenting the report.
The presentation audiocast will be accessible via the following link:
The presentation will also be available on our website:
To participate via telephone, please call any of the following numbers:
SE: +46 8 566 427 07
UK: +44 33 330 09 261
US: +1 646 722 49 56
Contact details for further information:
Michael Daly, CEO
Peter Messner, Group CFO
Phone: +46 768 95 26 93, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The information was submitted for publication, through the agency of the contact persons, on 17 November 2021 at 07:00 CET.
About Catena Media
Catena Media has a leading position within online lead generation. The company has about 400 employees in the US, Australia, Japan, Serbia, the UK, Sweden, Italy and Malta (HQ). The company is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm. Further information is available at www.catenamedia.com.