Revenues and profits soar at Dublin-based Keywords Studios
Company acquired eight businesses last year but also saw a 10% rise in organic growth
Chief executive Andrew Day at Keywords Studios’ Sandyford HQ
Keywords Studios, the fast-growing Irish-headquartered video gaming firm, on Thursday confirmed a huge jump in full-year revenues with turnover rising from €151.4 million to at least €250 million.
The London-listed group, which provides technical services to the gaming sector, issued an unaudited trading update indicating a €37.8 million pretax profit, up from €23 million a year earlier.
The group described 2018 as “another year of good organic growth and geographic expansion, complemented by a number of important and successful acquisitions”.
Keywords said its effective tax rate has continued to reduce and is expected to be 19 per cent for 2018, as against 20.5 per cent in 2017. As a result, adjusted earnings per share are forecast to be 47 cents, a 51 per cent increase on the prior year.
The company, which has acquired countless companies over the last few years, said it welcomed eight new businesses into the group last year after spending over €26 million in net cash on deals. However, it added that organic revenue growth continued to be strong as well with like-for-like sales rising by 10.1 per cent in 2018.
Keywords said it finished the year with debt of €400,000 as against net cash of €11.1 million a year earlier.
“As we look forward to another year of extending the ways in which we work with our video game developer and publisher clients, we are pleased to report that we are engaged on a number of projects with clients who are investing in the field of cloud-based gaming. This is an exciting development in the games market as a whole, as 5G mobile networks and expanded internet bandwidths allow for the emergence of platforms aiming to become the ‘Netflix of gaming’,” said chief executive Andrew Day.
“We expect this to create enhanced demand for both content, which would benefit most of our service lines, and for making games more accessible to more people in more territories, which would fuel demand for localisation in particular,” he added.
Keywords, which is listed on London’s AIM market, has a market value of more than €1 billion. It provides services to 23 of the top 25 most prominent games companies globally, including Tencent, Electronic Arts, Oculus, Supercell, Activision, Microsoft, Sega, Nintendo and Ubisoft.
In less than a decade, the group has grown from being a small studio employing 50 people at a single site in Dublin to one that now has up to 5,000 working across more than 40 locations in 20 countries. It has also shifted from being a single-service business to one with lines covering integrated art production, engineering, audio services, testing, localisation and player support services across 50 languages and multiple game platforms.