In a year where gaming companies seem to be shattering records at every turn, another stellar result no longer comes as a surprise but is instead, an expectation. French game publisher Ubisoft didn’t disappoint Thursday. Even after upping expectations several times in the past year (most recently in March) the company reported fiscal yearend earnings that raised the bar even higher.
By the numbers:
•For the year ended March 31st, Ubisoft recorded 928.3 Euros (about $1.46b) in sales; an amount equal to a 36% year over year gain (or 43% if calculated at constant exchange rates).
•Gross profit represented 66.4% of sales.
•Net income on the year was up sizably to 109.8 million Euros ($172.3), up from 40.5m Euros ($63.6m) last year. Less onetime gains, largely associated with the sale of mobile gaming company Gameloft, net income would be 80.6million Euros or 1.69 Euros a share.
•Operating Income, excluding stock option expenses, rose to $133.1 Euros from 38.3m Euros. At 14.3%, as a percentage of sales, the result slightly exceeded the company’s forecast which was an exact 14%.
•48 million Euros were spent to acquire tangible and intangible assets. These include the rights to all Tom Clancy (Hunt for Red October, etc) branded items including not just game titles but also book, film, merchandise and ancillary products.
•Cash flows from operating activities grew from 53million Euros last year to 117m Euros
•Net cash was 149.5m Euros, up from 55m Euros last year.
Looking ahead, the Company has confirmed their guidance for 2008-9. CEO Yves Guillemot said the company expects another record year. He also confirmed a number of new titles on the way. In a statement he said, “We now have 14 multimillion unit selling franchises and will be launching 5 new IPs during the period.”
For the first quarter, Ubisoft maintained guidance provided in April. They are projecting sales of approximately 154 Euros and annual sales at about 1 billion. Net cash for March 31, 2008 is estimated to come in around 270million Euros, up heavily from 150million Euros for the current year.
With a new syndicated loan also announced, the company should have slightly more than $1b Euros available to make acquisitions, if of strategic interest.
First quarter results are scheduled for a July 24th release.
By market cap, Ubisoft is worth a little more than $5b. Rival publisher Electronic Arts owns approximately 20% of the company.
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