Irish video gaming studio Keywords expects big rise in revenues

Group made 11 acquisitions last year and expects pretax profit of €22.5m

Dublin-headquartered video gaming studio Keywords Studios is forecasting a huge jump in turnover following a year of strong organic growth and a number of successful acquisitions.

The company, which listed in London five years ago, said in a trading update it expects 2017 full-year revenues to be not less than €150 million, up from €96.6 million in 2016. It indicated a profit before tax of at least €22.5 million, up from €14.9 million.

Established in Dublin in 1998, Keywords employs more than 3,000 people, and provides localisation services to many of the leading players in the sector including Tencent, Electronic Arts, Oculus, Supercell, Activision, Sega, Nintendo and Ubisoft.

"We are delighted with the group's performance as we grew revenues and profits strongly again this year. Our ever-increasing geographic footprint and broader range of services have combined to grow market share, introduce additional services to established clients and win new clients," said chief executive Andrew Day.


The group is now comprised of seven globally managed service lines operating from 42 production studios in 20 countries, compared to four service lines operating from five production studios in five countries at the time of its Initial Public Offering (IPO) in July 2013.

During 2017, the company made 11 acquisitions last year and said it is well placed to make further ones in 2019.

Last year saw the group's two largest acquisitions to date with a $66 million deal for VMC in October, and the $27 million purchase of Sperasoft in December. Keywords also announced a successful £75 million equity placing late last year.

Broader capability

“The 11 acquisitions in 2017 demonstrate strong progress in our strategy to selectively consolidate the fragmented video games market and generate synergies through scale, and our entry into engineering and particularly co-development, enhances our positioning as a strategic partner to game developers and publishers, whilst continuing to ensure we are not directly exposed to the commercial performance of individual titles,” said Mr Day.

“As games are becoming bigger and are higher definition, game developers are increasingly relying upon co-development arrangements with companies like Keywords to provide them with broader capability to develop both initial games and ongoing content and features post-launch,” he added.

Keywords had €30.5 million in cash at the year end having used €18.3 million of its €35 million rolling credit facility.

In a note to investors, Davy said it expects engineering and co-development to be key focus areas for the group in 2018.

Keywords only made its first move into engineering in May 2017 with the acquisitions of XLOC and Game Sim, followed by d3t in October and the deal for Sperasoft, a company that provides game development, art creation and software engineering services to video game developers and publishers.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist