Therese Hillman – NetEnt unafraid of tackling tough choices for delivering growth

Publishing its full-year 2018 results, Therese Hillman new Chief Executive of Stockholm-listed industry games developer NetEnt AB, has emphasised that her new executive team will continue to execute ‘changes delivering efficiencies for commercial growth’.

NetEnt’s CEO closes a transformative Q4 2018 trading period, in which the games developer has undertaken a series of organisational adjustments – significantly reducing headcount within its Stockholm home office and writing-down its VR games unit.

“To better meet such expectations and to drive efficiency and commercial focus, we continued to make changes in the company. In December, we announced a re-organization that leads to a more decentralized structure with clearer areas of priority and accountability. “

The corporate adjustments would see NetEnt book SEK 22 million (€2.2 million) in aforementioned costs during Q4 2018 trading, which in turn saw period profits decline to SEK 137 million (€13 million – Q4 2017: SEK 155m).

Updating investors, Hillman backs NetEnt’s corporate recovery strategy with full confidence, stating that the company has undertaken tough decisions to improve its operating structures and whilst enhancing commercial opportunities.

Commercial advances are highlighted with NetEnt securing new partnerships with Nordic Tier1 clients ATG and Svenska Spel (Sweden), alongside Veikkaus (Finland).

Q4 2018 trading would further see NetEnt diversify its supplier contract with long-term client William Hill, adding new live table provisions to its games partnership.

“We have strengthened key management positions across the group and recruited a new head of Live Casino, which continues to be an area that we invest in. We also communicated that we are increasing the pace of development and aim to release 30 – 35 new games in 2019, compared to 21 games in 2018.”

Furthermore, fulfilling her CEO mandate, Hillman confirmed the appointment of tech and enterprise financing veteran Lars Johansson as new Group Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

Moving into 2019, Hillman details that NetEnt’s executive team views significant opportunities in new market conditions created by changing regulatory demands.

Case-in-point, Hillman points to the US, where NetEnt has secured content partnerships with legacy wagering incumbents Churchill Downs (New Jersey) and Penn National Gaming (Pennsylvania).

“In the US, we follow the developments closely after the Office of Legal Counsel of the US Department of Justice issued its opinion about online gambling in January.

This has created some uncertainty, but at this stage we do not see any reason to reconsider our US growth plans, which include growing on the regulated markets in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. With regards to timing, however, we see that the launch in Pennsylvania will be delayed due to changes in the regulatory requirements.”

 

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