Questions from Q4 presentation: Could you elaborate of partner publishing, what to expect in Q1?
Lars Wingefors: We need to be realistic, and most important for us is to work with our longstanding customers in order to help them to get the business up and running again after the Lockdown. This retail customer base across Europe we’ve been working with for up to 30 years, and it’s very important to us that we continue having this retail distribution landscape in Europe.
I think that is the most important thing for us.
Can you comment on Saber Interactive's relation with CD Projekt, since CD Projekt decided to make the Witcher 3 update in house?
With more than 12,500 people across 40 countries, our companies are business partners to most other companies in the industry in some shape or form, including an extensive list of work4hire relationships.
We have the deepest respect for CD Projekt as a company and they have proven to be one of the best game development teams globally. Regarding the specific question, we are not able to comment on the relationship with business partners.
However, without specifically commenting on any work4hire agreement, no relationship has changed that has any financial impact on the overall group revenues or profitability, at least not exceeding USD 500,000”.
Regarding the situation due to the war in Ukraine, we refer to the latest communication to all shareholders:
Does Embracer communicate all acquisitions regardless of size?
No, some acquisitions without any notable contribution on Embracers operational EBIT during the coming two years will instead be communicated directly from Operative Groups or noted in future quarterly reports of Embracer. This was also communicated in our interim report Q2 21/22 (page 34)
Why doesn’t Embracer Group disclose release dates of games?
In regards to all questions about the release date of any of our upcoming titles, we refer to the publisher. As a part of our decentralized model, we trust that our developing team and publishers will communicate the release dates when they think it is ready.
How does Embracer Group approach ESG/sustainability?
In the last year (2019), we have shaped the foundation on our approach to ESG/sustainability-matters, going forward, we will continue to secure that it becomes an integral part of our everyday work throughout our global organization. Our great people are our greatest asset and that’s why we among others things, focus on our people in the ESG work. Read more about our work on ESG/Sustainability.
Why doesn’t the company provide financial forecasts for the future?
Since our listing at Nasdaq First North Growth Market in November 2016, we have had the same process in how we handle analysts according to market practice. We regularly have reconciliations with analysts, mainly in connection with interim reports. Analysts play an essential role in the market, especially for us who have a business with many different revenue streams that are generated by a well-diversified product portfolio and because we do not provide financial forecasts ourselves.
There have been requests asking us to provide financial forecasts to be even clearer, but we conclude that it would not be beneficial to the company, mainly for commercial reasons. To us, our subsidiaries must decide and control the communication regarding new games and release dates first, rather than being controlled by the parent company and indirectly the financial market. By that, we are convinced about a better long-term return.
We are continuing to work with the market to find more relevant KPI´s.
Yes, starting from our Q1-report (published 13th of August 2020) we introduce organic growth as a KPI, which excludes businesses that have been acquired in the past year and is adjusted for differences in currency exchange rate.
Why do you have a limited amount of press releases between the quarter from the parent company? Why don’t you disclose release dates for all upcoming titles?
In general, we believe in communicating information that is relevant for all shareholders.
Our investor communication should be transparent, relevant, and restrained. We believe in building a long term business rather than selling shares in the short term. Without limiting our day to day operations, we should educate the financial market about the bigger picture and the strategy going forward. In general, we prefer to communicate through delivery and execution.
Regarding new releases, we do give color about the current quarter when reporting the interim reports. However, to provide exact information about all our releases dates and newly announced products would make it difficult for stakeholders to understand what financially matters for the group. Release dates for upcoming titles will be communicated from our subsidiaries, and Embracer Group will give updates when relevant in the interim reports.
Although acqusitive growth has been an important part of creating Embracer Group, we do not need acquisitions to grow in the future. However, we want to continue on the M&A path and add more publishers, studios and IP’s. Apart from achieving further diversification, and thus lowering the operational risk in the group, we believe we can create value by acquiring the right companies at the right price. We believe we can make acquired companies more valuable by enabling them to make more and better games. In other words, we buy to build.
The auditor of Embracer Group is Ernst & Young AB, with Johan Eklund (born in 1975) as auditor-in-charge since the 2020 annual general meeting. Johan Eklund is an authorized public accountant and member of FAR.
Who should I contact if I would like to change information on my Embracer shares?
In most cases, the bank or the stockbroker will be able to assist you with changes (of name, address, etc.). If you are a direct-registered owner, you can also submit changes to Euroclear Sweden AB directly at:
Euroclear Sweden AB
Questions from Q4 presentation: Digital sales performing really strongly, while partner publishing performs below guidance. Can you talk a bit more about the unusual circumstances and how it has evolved under Q1?
Lars Wingefors: The whole industry has seen a significant increase in usage of games, across the world basically. That is also true for us. However, our business is partly dependant on visibility and new releases, and during the March period, we didn’t really have any significant releases to capture this trend. We saw an uptake on all digital areas but from quite a low level, because our back catalogue requires either digital sales promotions to increase their sales significantly or new releases again. And we didn’t really have that during this period. However, what we’ve seen now, from April up until today in May, is that we both had a bit of more releases performing well – I think the game itself, no matter the Covid-19 situation, would have been performing well – but I think we have been able to capture a bit of the increased usage of games. We also had a number of notable digital promotions of the back catalogue sales, especially in April.
Questions from Q4 presentation: There’s a shift to digital at the moment, but how do you feel that the effect of the ”depression” of physical is going to apply when we get new console sales, that has been physical oriented?
Lars Wingefors: Physical is already a niche market. However, customers come first, and there is still a significant amount of customers willing to buy the physical, they like the physical – as I do myself – buying the collector’s editions… I’m firm believer that the physical market, even though it’s a niche, will be here to stay for many years to come. We are staying in this market. I see the opportunity to contribute to the consolidation to make our operations efficient. So how much this shift will be after the lockdown is very hard to speculate on.
Questions from Q4 presentation: M&A, following the acquisition of Saber Interactive, would you say that you are having discussions with potential targets that you even wouldn’t have been able to imagine that you would have discussions with, a couple of years ago?
Lars Wingefors: A couple of years ago, yes definitely. I think our size in terms of ability to, both from a financial perspective, but also market cap perspective, because I would like to give part of the consideration to the entrepreneurs in shares, so they can take part of the whole group, and it def helps that we have a larger market cap today than we had a few years ago. Saber Interactive has specifically contributed to a number of new conversations that we didn’t have befre they entered the group. The more great companies you add, the more great companies could potentially join going forward. We need to make sure that we are able to manage and integrate these companies also from a parent company perspective, that’s why we have been building more organizations, in Karlstad, Stockholm and across the world, in order to operate the whole group.
Questions from Q4 presentation: Why don’t Embracer Group give financial forecasts?
Lars Wingefors: We are not giving financial forecast, especially not on the revenue side or operational EBIT side. The return on investment varies. The KPI of the overall sales in the business area relating to finalized games, depends on how much back catalogue sales that is contributed in the period and how much the value is of the released game.
Some games could have a very high ROI, especially if the game has recurring revenue over a long period of time.
Embracer Group is a parent company of businesses led by entrepreneurs in PC, console, mobile and board games and other related media. The Group has an extensive catalogue of over 850 owned or controlled franchises.
With its head office based in Karlstad, Sweden, Embracer Group has a global presence through its ten operative groups: THQ Nordic, Koch Media, Coffee Stain, Amplifier Game Invest, Saber Interactive, DECA Games, Gearbox Entertainment, Easybrain, Asmodee, and Dark Horse. The Group has 119 internal game development studios and is engaging more than 12,500 employees and contracted employees in more than 40 countries.