NetEnt chairman Vigo Carlund

Gaming content giant NetEnt has published its annual report, confirming the solid performance recorded in 2017 – just a week after firing CEO and president Per Eriksson, on the grounds of faltering revenues.

However, while the report was clearly prepared prior to Eriksson’s dismissal last week, comments from the chairman, Vigo Carlund, run contrary to Eriksson’s own contribution to the annual health-check.

Former president and CEO Eriksson, who left his position with immediate effect last week, was characteristically buoyant in his comments, talking up the company’s prospects on the back of a reasonable 2017 and explaining missed targets with typical openness and optimism.

Carlund’s commentary included the customary outlining of corporate governance and responsibilities but his statement struck a notably different tone to those of his former CEO and also were in stark contrast to his 2017 comments on the company’s 2016 performance.

Carlund opened his overview of 2017 with a straightforward outline of corporate governance responsibilities. “The board’s task on behalf of the shareholders is to ensure that the company is managed as efficiently as possible,” said Carlund.

“A clear division of responsibilities and duties ensures that management and employees are focused on achieving good results.”

Read against last year’s message, which opened with “2016 was yet another successful year for NetEnt,” there is a clear contrast in mood, with this year’s tone decidedly muted.

The annual report is dated March 21, a week before Eriksson received his marching orders. Carlund’s comments suggest the writing had perhaps been on the wall for the CEO for some time.

The 2017 annual report, confirms the earlier reported full-year revenues of SEK1.625bn (€160m) for the 12 months to December 31, up 11.7 per cent on 2016 but down on initial forecasts.

Fourth quarter revenues were up 4.7 per cent year on year, to SEK419m (€42.3m). Operating profit in Q4 fell 3.9 per cent year on year, to SEK150m (€15.15m). Operating profit for the full year was SEK587m (€59.3m), an increase of 9.5 per cent on 2016.