Dublin-founded video games services provider Keywords Studios said it got off to a strong start in 2022, with revenues expected to be more than a third higher.
The group also announced another acquisition, Melbourne based Mighty Games, for up to A$10 million (€6.8 million).
In a trading update for the six months ended June 30th, the group said it expects revenues to reach €320 million for the period, up form €238.7 million. Some of that growth is down to the acquisitions made by the company, with organic revenues expected to see a 22 per cent increase as demand for its services increases.
Adjusted profit before tax is predicted to be about €54 million, a 35 per cent increase from the €39.7 million in the first half of 2021.
Keywords said it had net cash of €121 million at the end of the six months.
Chief executive Bertrand Bodson said the company had started the year strongly, building on the momentum of 2021, and expected to deliver a performance ahead of market expectations. He warned organic growth rates would moderate, however, and margins — now at 17 per cent — would drop as the company continued to invest in the business, and moved people and work from Russia. He also expects an increase in costs as Covid-19 restrictions continue to be eased.
“We set out, in our Capital Markets Day in June, how we intend to build on the group’s strong platform by developing strategic customer partnerships, introducing new technologies, galvanising the group’s culture of entrepreneurialism and collaboration, establishing Keywords as the destination for talent and leveraging the group’s capabilities into adjacent markets, all complemented by our M&A strategy. Whilst it is early days, we are making good progress with each of these areas of focus,” he said.
The group also said it had acquired Mighty Games, which brings an innovative, proprietary AI-based [artificial intelligence] testing technology platform to Keywords. The company, which was founded by studio head Matt Ditton and co-founder Ben Britten-Smith in 2013, specialises in the development of automated games testing solutions. Its build and test platform uses AI technology to automatically test code, detect bugs and defects and report errors around the clock.
It employs 21 people providing game testing solutions and game development services for clients including global mobile game developers as well as Australian developers and publishers.
Keywords will pay up to A$10 million for the company, with an initial cash consideration of A$4.8 million, the equivalent of A$1.2 million in new ordinary shares to be issued within 30 days of completion, and up to A$4 million in a mix of cash and new ordinary shares based on growth targets being met over the three years following completion.
“We were pleased to have completed the acquisitions of Forbidden Empires and Mighty Games and we continue to review a healthy pipeline of acquisitions that extend the services Keywords is able to offer its global video games clients, particularly as we build our Create and Engage service lines,” Mr Bodson said.
“Our unrivalled, scale, reach and breadth of services position Keywords well to continue to increase our share of our large addressable market and our strong financial position will enable further selective acquisitions as we cement our position as the ‘go to’ services platform for the global video games industry and beyond.”