Playtech FY/21: Steady as She Grows, But Who Will Marry Swooning Bride?

Jilted at the altar of acquisition by successive suitors, beating back the fiscal impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and now with over 700 Ukrainian employees caught-up in the bloody Russian invasion, to say that gaming Omni-channel Playtech has had an “interesting” 12 months could be called the understatement of the year.

Yet, despite the challenging headwinds, the world’s largest online gaming software supplier, has reported an impressive FY/21, ending December 30, with revenue up 12 per cent to €1.21 billion (£1.01bn/US$1.32bn), compared to FY/20.

B2C remained Playtech’s biggest font of revenue, rising 10 per cent to €663.7 million (£555m/US$727.26m).

Italy–where Playtech own the dominant Snaitech online and Snai betting shop brands–was the star of the show in this sector – despite retail Covid lockdown for almost half the financial year.

B2B revenue, likewise, grew 12 per cent, year-on-year, to €554.3 million (£463.24m/US$607.05m), pushed by significant growth in many of Playtech’s international markets, notably: Greece, Holland, Italy, Poland, the United States and Latin America; although Germany, with its complex regulatory environment, continued to disappoint.

Within B2B, The Americas generated an impressive 64 per cent, year-on-year, growth to hit revenue of €101.3 million (£84.7m/US$111m).

“Clearly, it has been an eventful year for Playtech,” said Mor Weizer, CEO of the FTSE250 company. “I want to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues for their hard work and commitment. It makes me very proud to be at the helm.”

Of most pressing concern is the safety of Playtech’s 722 employees in the firm’s R&D vertical based in Ukraine’s besieged capital, Kyiv.

The company told iGF: “[We are] in the process of setting up an [Ukrainian] Employee Welfare Fund, which will provide long-term assistance for colleagues and families, [and we have] assisted employees with relocation to either safer parts of the country or to other countries.”

Feel the Love

With Playtech currently valued in the region of £2.7 billion (US$3.53bn/€3.22bn), the company was less forthcoming, however, about its ongoing struggle to find a suitable beau, after rejecting proposals from Australia’s Aristocrat, Gopher Investments and JKO Play.

Playtech’s latest suitor is a secretive group of investors gathered under the umbrella of Hong Kong-based TTB Partners, who have the support of CEO Weizer.

But it’s still not known if the far-eastern cabal can gather the necessary 75 per cent of voting shares to win their nuptial bid.

Playtech, meantime, has ended its financial year—after EBITDA and other costs—with an adjusted net profit of €112.3 million (£93.9m/US$123.05m) — up over 300 per cent on FY20.

“Our full-year results demonstrate the quality of Playtech’s technology and the momentum across the group,” said Weizer.

And Playtech’s newly-appointed Chairman Brian Mattingley, in what could be construed as a plea to a suitable suitor, added:

“[We have] delivered an excellent set of results, illustrating clearly the strength of [our] unrivalled technology offering, expertise in online gaming and the calibre of the team.

“This performance is all the more notable given the intensity of the corporate activity Playtech has been involved in throughout 2021, and which remains ongoing.”

Now, all that’s needed for the cherry to be set on—or is that plucked from—the wedding cake is for someone else to feel the love.