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Strategic acquisitions aid Aristocrat business evolution

Aristocrat Leisure has reported a strong 2017 showing, “against a backdrop of broadly flat markets and increasing pressure from existing and new competitors”.

Speaking at the firm’s annual general meeting, Trevor Croker, Aristocrat CEO, highlighted a fiscal year rise of 15% in group revenue in reported terms, to a record result of more than $2.45b.

Earnings before EBITDA also rose 24% in reported terms and approaching 28% in constant currency, as compared to the previous year, with an operating cash flow of over $799m, up 17%.

Dr Ian Blackburne, Aristocrat Chairman, commented: “This result was achieved right across the Group’s global portfolio, in particular with outstanding momentum in the Americas, significant growth in the Digital and International CIII segments and sustained strength in our Australian business.”

A number of strategic acquisitions have been lauded in aiding the firm to adapt and evolve “our business in order to drive growth, profitability and shareholder returns”, which Croker explained: “The business is significantly bigger, and more geographically and operationally diverse than at any time in our history – and now includes a material presence in unregulated, large and fast-growing non-casino game segments.

“We have constructed a robust platform upon which we have built, and will continue to pursue, market leading positions wherever strategic opportunities present across the total global land-based and digital gaming market.”

Underlining the Aristocrat global profiles and “a readiness to invest in M&A that meets our rigorous criteria wherever those opportunities may be located around the world”, the Australian ASX listed firm executed its strategy by bringing in Product Madness, VGT, Plarium and Big Fish.

Aiding growth in a number of sectors, including land based social casino, digital lead social casino – including meta came capability, casual gaming and massive multiplayer online (MMO) and strategy.

Outlining its guidance for continued growth throughout 2018, Aristocrat expects 11 months contribution from Plarium and 9 months contribution from Big Fish, after adjusting for one off transaction and integration costs, which will be disclosed as significant items.

With a reduction in the group effective tax rate by around 3 percentage points also expected, taking into account the impact of recent US tax reform and including the one-time benefit of $6.5m US dollars from the revaluation of the Group’s US net deferred tax liability.

Concluding Croker added: “Going forward, we will intensify our focus on recruiting, developing and retaining outstanding leadership, creative and technical talent, and entrenching a shared culture that drives both performance and industry-leading responsibility and sustainability.

“I have great confidence in our core business continuing to deliver, and am energised by the incremental growth opportunities from our total digital business.”

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