UBISOFT REPORTS FULL-YEAR 2016-17 SALES AND EARNINGS FIGURES

Company posts third consecutive year-on-year rise in non-IFRS operating margin, with record-high digital revenue and back-catalog sales,

reflecting the Group’s transformation toward a more profitable and recurring model

2016-17: RECORD HIGH NON-IFRS OPERATING INCOME, UP 40.7% IN LINE WITH TARGETS 

  • Total annual sales of €1,459.9 million, up 4.7% year on year, in line with the target range of between €1,455.0 million and €1,495.0 million
  • €729.3 million in digital revenue, representing 50.0% of total sales (32.0% in 2015-16)
  • Sharp 26.7% increase in MAUs[1]

 –    131.2% surge in Player Recurring Investment[2] to 304.0 M€

  • €649.2 million in back-catalog sales, accounting for 44.5% of total sales (25.7% in 2015-16)
  • Solid performance in the fourth fiscal quarter:
  • Number one publisher worldwide[3] since the beginning of calendar 2017 
  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon® Wildlands, the industry’s best-selling3 game since the beginning of the year: the Ghost Recon community grew approximately 60% – For Honor® – the industry’s second best-selling game3 
  • Non-IFRS operating income up 40.7% to a record high €237.7 million, in line with the target range of between €230.0 million and €250.0 million, and higher than the initial target of €230.0 million 
  • Non-IFRS operating margin reaches a record 16.3% (12.1% in 2015-16) 

TARGETS FOR 2017-18[4]: FURTHER EARNINGS GROWTH 

  • Sales of around €1,700.0 million
  • Non-IFRS operating income of around €270.0 million

STRATEGIC PLAN TARGETS FOR 2018-194 REVISED TO FACTOR IN THE POSITIVE IMPACT OF THE GROUP’S NEW RECURRING MODEL. HIGHER NON-IFRS OPERATING MARGIN

  • Sales of around €2,100.0 million (previous target of €2,200.0 million), with:
    • 4 AAA releases for around 28 million units 
    • Digital revenue to represent more than 55% of total sales
    • Increased games lifetime: significantly higher back catalog sales compared with previous estimates 
  • An increase in the operating margin target to 21.0% (20.0% previously), and non-IFRS operating income target kept at around €440.0 million.

Paris, May 16, 2017 – Today, Ubisoft released its sales and earnings figures for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017.

Yves Guillemot, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, stated: “The execution of our strategic plan fully paid off in 2016-17, with further very strong growth for the digital segment – which now accounts for 50% of total sales – and an ever-more recurring profile.”

“With 44 million unique registered players, the size of the Tom Clancy community has increased by almost 150% in less than 18 months. This impressive performance for a brand created almost 20 years ago clearly illustrates the strong popularity of Ghost Recon Wildlands, Rainbow Six Siege, and The Division. Our Live titles continue to beat records for player engagement and have seen a sharp rise in player recurring investment. Our results for 2016-17 demonstrate the success of our new model, with record-high operating income and outperforming the target announced a year ago, and operating margin up for the third consecutive year.”

“Over the last three fiscal years, Ubisoft has – with remarkable success – created numerous new brands and rebooted Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon. These successes have strengthened our visibility for the coming two fiscal years, with a line-up of releases principally comprised of established franchises. In 2017-18 we will see the exciting returns of Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, The Crew, and South Park. 

In 2018-19 we intend to pursue our digital transformation and consolidate our new business model, which is much more recurring and more profitable and is now significantly less exposed to new releases. This revision of our assumptions gives greater visibility for meeting our targets.”

“Our dynamic trajectory is being led by the growing footprint of video games in the entertainment industry. Ubisoft is playing a leading role in this respect thanks to the creativity of our teams, the power of our owned brands, the digital transformation that has generated direct relationships with our communities, and our numerous growth drivers, particularly in terms of geographic markets. Beyond 2018-19 we will continue to catch up with our competitors in terms of player recurring investment, which represents huge value creation potential for our shareholders.” 

Note 

All of the figures in this press release correspond to non-IFRS data adjusted to exclude non-operating items, unless stated otherwise. The Group presents these indicators – which are not prepared strictly in accordance with IFRS – as it considers that they are the best reflection of its operating and financial performance. The definitions of the non-IFRS indicators with a description of the applicable adjustments, as well as a reconciliation table between the IFRS consolidated income statement and the non-IFRS consolidated income statement are provided in an appendix to this press release.

Income statement and key financial data

In € millions2016-17%2015-16%
Sales1,459.9 1,394.0 
Gross margin1,189.081.4%1,088.978.1%
Non-IFRS R&D expenses(521.7)-35.7%(500.3)-35.9%
        Non-IFRS selling expenses(313.1)-21.4%(304.5)-21.8%
        Non-IFRS G&A expenses(116.4)-8.0%(115.1)-8.3%
Total non-IFRS SG&A expenses(429.5)-29.4%(419.6)-30.1%
Non-IFRS operating income237.716.3%169.012.1%
IFRS operating income175.8 136.8 
Non-IFRS diluted EPS (in €)1.46 1.13 
IFRS diluted EPS (in €)0.92 0.82 
Non-IFRS cash flows from operating activities*149.1 (148.8) 
R&D investment expenditure**610.5 586.8 
Net cash/(debt) position(80.4) (41.7) 

           * Based on the consolidated cash flow statement for comparison with other industry players (not audited)                      

           ** Including royalties but excluding future commitments                                                                                        

Sales

Full-year sales for 2016-17 came to €1,459.9 million, up 4.7% (or 4.9% at constant exchange rates) compared with the €1,394.0 million recorded for 2015-16. 

Sales in the fourth quarter of 2016-17 totaled €648.6 million versus €624.9 million in the corresponding prior-year period, representing an increase of 3.8% (or 2.9% at constant exchange rates).

Main income statement items

Gross margin rose to 81.4% of sales (from 78.1% in 2015-16) and to €1,189.0 million (versus €1,088.9 million).

Non-IFRS operating income came in at €237.7 million, up 40.7% on the €169.0 million recorded for 2015-16. This increase reflects the following:

  • A €100.1 million rise in gross margin.
  • A slight €21.4 million increase in R&D expenses to €521.7 million (35.7% of sales) compared with €500.3 million (35.9% of sales) in 2015-16.  
  • A slight €9.9 million increase in SG&A expenses to €429.5 million (29.4% of sales) from €419.6 million (30.1%) in 2015-16:

− Variable marketing expenses amounted to €218.5 million (15.0% of sales), virtually unchanged from the 2015-16 figure of €217.3 million (15.6%).

− Structure costs amounted to €211.1 million (14.5% of sales) versus €202.2 million (14.5%).

Ubisoft ended 2016-17 with non-IFRS net income of €174.3million, representing non-IFRS diluted earnings per share of €1.46, compared with non-IFRS net income of €129.0 million and non-IFRS diluted earnings per share of €1.13 for 2015-16.

IFRS net income came to €107.8 million, representing IFRS diluted earnings per share of €0.92 versus IFRS net income of €93.4 million and IFRS diluted earnings per share of €0.82 in 2015-

16.

Main cash flow statement[5] and balance sheet items 

Non-IFRS cash flows from operating activities represented a net inflow of €149.1 million compared with a €148.8 million net outflow in 2015-16. This positive swing reflects an improvement in nonIFRS cash flow from operations which amounted to €110.2 million (versus €104.6 million in 201516), and a €38.9 million decrease in non-IFRS working capital requirement (against a €253.3 million increase in 2015-16).

At March 31, 2017, Ubisoft had net debt of €80.4 million versus €41.7 million one year earlier.

This increase reflects the combined impact of the following:

  • The €149.1 million in cash flows from operating activities
  • A €63.4 million net cash outflow arising on acquisitions and disposals of intangible assets and property, plant and equipment
  • A €105.6 million cash outflow relating to acquisitions (including Ketchapp et Growtopia™)
  • A €9.5 million cash inflow on the exercise of stock options
  • A €67.8 million cash outflow due to buybacks
  • The recognition in equity of €39.6 million related to the value of the equity component of the convertible bond issued on September 21, 2016

Outlook

Full-year 2017-18

Ubisoft’s initial targets for 2017-18, as announced today, are as follows: sales of around €1,700.0 million and non-IFRS operating income of around €270.0 million.

This growth will be fueled by:                         

  • A growth of our new releases, with 4 AAA franchises: Assassin’s Creed®, Far Cry®, The Crew® and South Park™: The Fractured But Whole™.                 
  • Another rise in player recurring investment. The digital segment is expected to contribute over 50% to total sales in 2017-18 and the back-catalog over 40%.

First quarter of 2017-18

The Group expects first-quarter 2017-18 sales to amount to approximately €170.0 million, up

22.0% on first-quarter 2016-17.

Update of 2018-19 targets

The Company has revised its 2018-19 targets, which are now as follows: 

  • Sales of around €2,100.0 million, compared with the previous target of €2,200.0 million
  • Non-IFRS operating income of €440.0 million, in line with the previous target, with an increase in the non-IFRS operating margin target to 21.0% from 20.0% previously
  • Free cash flow of around €300.0 million, in line with the previous target

This performance will be driven by:

  • The release of four AAA titles with three established franchises and a new brand (compared with five established franchises previously). The total number of units for these releases is expected to be around 28 million, compared with the 40 million previously announced
  • Digital revenue, which is expected to account for more than 55% of total sales (versus around 45% previously) with player recurring investment representing more than 25% (versus around 17% previously)
  • Significantly higher Back-catalog compared with previous assumptions, both in absolute value terms and as a percentage of sales 

Recent significant events

Partnership with Tencent to launch Might and Magic® Heroes: Era of Chaos: This mobile game, developed exclusively for China by Playcrab, will be published by Tencent, a leading provider of Internet value-added services in China.

The success of the mobile game, Ballz™: Released by Ketchapp on February 18, 2017, Ballz was ranked in the top three most downloaded games on iOS in the US for 63 days (source: App Annie). 

Ghost Recon Wildlands Beta phases make Ubisoft history: More than 6.8 million players participated in these Beta phases. Over 60% of players have gathered their squads to play the Open Beta in Co-op on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. 

Acquisition of Growtopia: Ubisoft has acquired this successful multiplayer and social game that gives players the framework and tools to create interactive game worlds. Launched in 2013, Growtopia is a free-to-play game supported by a highly-engaged community of more than 20 million registered users. The acquisition of Growtopia has an immediate accretive effect on Ubisoft’s earnings.  

Contact

          Investor relations                                                                                                                                     

Jean-Benoît Roquette

SVP Investor Relations

+ 33 1 48 18 52 39

Jean-benoit.roquette@ubisoft.com

Disclaimer

This statement may contain estimated financial data, information on future projects and transactions, and future business results/performance. Such forward-looking data are provided for estimation purposes only. They are subject to market risks and uncertainties and may vary significantly compared with the actual results that will be published. The estimated financial data have been presented and approved by the Board of Directors on 05/16/17 and have not been audited by the Statutory Auditors. (Additional information is specified in the most recent Ubisoft Registration Document filed on July 22, 2016 with the French Financial Markets Authority (l’Autorité des Marchés Financiers)).

About Ubisoft

Ubisoft is a leading creator, publisher, and distributor of interactive entertainment and services, with a rich portfolio of world-renowned brands, including Assassin’s Creed, Just Dance, Watch_Dogs, Tom Clancy’s video game series, Rayman and Far Cry. The teams throughout Ubisoft’s worldwide network of studios and business offices are committed to delivering original and memorable gaming experiences across all popular platforms, including consoles, mobile phones, tablets and PCs. For the 2016-17 fiscal year Ubisoft generated sales of €1,460 million. To learn more, please visit www.ubisoftgroup.com.  

© 2017 Ubisoft Entertainment. All rights Reserved. Ubisoft and the Ubisoft logo are trademarks of Ubisoft Entertainment in the US and/or other countries.  © 2017 South Park Digital Studios LLC. All Rights Reserved. South Park and all elements thereof © 2017 Comedy Partners. All Rights Reserved. Comedy Central, South Park and all related titles, logos, and characters are trademarks of Comedy Partners. Game software © 2017 Ubisoft Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.  


[1] Monthly Active Users

[2] Player Recurring Investment includes sales of digital items, DLC, season passes, subscriptions and advertising 

[3] Physical & digital sales of games, Jan-March 2017 – consoles/PC – EMEA/US/Japan/Australia (GfK/NPD/Famitsu/in-house estimates)

[4] Targets calculated in accordance with currently applicable IFRS

[5] Based on the consolidated cash flow statement for comparison with other industry players (not audited)  

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: