Evolution hits strong 2021 opening off NetEnt and Red Tiger acquisitions

Evolution Gaming has reported a 105% revenue increase in Q1 2021, driven by its acquisitions of NetEnt and Red Tiger Gaming, as well as expansion in global markets and continued high demand.

Overall group revenue rose to €235.8 million during Q1, whilst the NetEnt takeover resulted in the total closure of the firm’s synergy project nine months earlier than anticipated , reaching 40 million in annual run-rate cost synergies.

Additionally, the group has reported increased EBITDA by 67.9% to €160 million, whilst profit for the period also grew by 144% on Q1 2020 to €132 million and earnings per share before dilution amounted to €0.62.

Moving forward, the operator aims to build on its acquisitions of NetEnt and Red Tiger with a takeover of Big Time Gaming, announced towards the end of the quarter.

The new acquisition will accelerate Evolution’s long-term ambition of ‘being a global leader in all disciplines related to online casino,’ – incorporating Big Time Gaming’s IPs and ‘innovative fantastic talent’ into its overall portfolio of slot brands.

Detailing the arrangement, Martin Carlesund, CEO of Evolution, said: “The transaction is expected to be completed during the second quarter. I very much look forward to welcoming the Big Time Gaming team to Evolution and to work together on new innovative games.”

Other plans include the integration of new games both the NetEnt and Red Tiger suite of titles as part of a general ‘re-vamp’ of Evolution’s slot gaming offering, as well as updates on traditional live table games and an expansion of the Live Game Show segment.

Evolution overall experienced ‘great momentum’ for 2020, and the operator believes that a ‘strong underlying demand’ for online casino offerings in the first quarter of 2021 will continue to fuel expansion, having recorded year-on-year growth of 60% in Q1 for its live casino division, the highest growth rate the firm has experienced in a single quarter.

However, despite the success of the NetEnt takeover – which saw Evolution’s RNG business start the year with a growth of 6% compared to NetEnt Q1 2020 revenues – Carlesund has predicted ‘somewhat tougher comparable figures’ relating to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on NetEnt’s Q2 2020 operations.

With a continuing focus on the pandemic, Evolution detailed that Q1 2021 ‘simply has been and still is a tough period,’ with several studios operating at a limited capacity to ensure safety and protection measures for staff.

These restrictions on Evolution’s operating capacity were offset, moreover, by the strong growth reported in all regions, with particularly high rates observed in Asia and North America.

Evolution is truly a global operation serving players all over the world,” Carlesund added. 

“Our commercial organization is now structured in four regions: Europe, Asia, North America and Latin America & Africa. With dedicated commercial resources to each region, we look forward to explore further development for each region together with operators.”

This increased demand has prompted Evolution to commit to further investment in the development of its studios as well as in its operational capacity, having already committed to this in North America and other regions during Q1 2021.

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