Gaming momentum leads Light & Wonder to 5% Q2 revenue gain

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Light & Wonder has hailed the “great strides” taken during the year’s second quarter, with the pace and scale of the group’s ongoing business transformation said to have been “incredible”.

This saw the company divestment of its $5.8bn lottery business to Brookfield Business Partners in April, with a $400m reduction in the sale price on OpenBet to see Endeavor Group pay a total of $800m upon closure by the end of the third quarter.

Alongside detailing the group’s second quarter performance, Barry Cottle, President and Chief Executive Officer of Light & Wonder, noted that the above represents a “significant milestone” in the company’s new journey.

The group is now looking to take additional market share and unlock “tremendous value” in what is identified as $70bn in total addressable market.

This comes alongside the company detailing a five per cent Q2 revenue rise to $610m (2021: $581m), driven by gaming momentum and year-on-year growth at SciPlay. The past year, said Light & Wonder,  benefited from $38m VAT recovery that reduced YoY comparability by seven per cent.

However, net loss and adjusted EBITDA tracked declines through the three month time frame, with the former swelling to $150m from 2021’s $51m.

This is aligned to $147m in loss on financing transactions associated with the April 2022 debt pay down and refinancing transactions.

AEBITDA dropped nine per cent to $212m (2021:232m), with the past year reported as benefiting from VAT recovery that reduced YoY comparability by approximately 18 percentage points.

“The pace and scale of the business and financial transformation over the past year has been incredible,” commented Connie James, Chief Financial Officer of Light & Wonder.

“We now have all the pieces in place and are singularly focused on building great games”

“This quarter was no exception as our teams successfully closed on the lottery business sale and refinancing transactions. Collectively, these transactions have transformed our balance sheet, enabling us to end the quarter with a net debt leverage ratio(2) of 3.6x, seven turns lower than where we stood at the beginning of last year. 

“With our reconstituted balance sheet, we have the financial flexibility to invest in our largest growth opportunities to drive the business forward.”

Gaming drove the group’s revenue uptick courtesy of a six per cent increase to $390m (2021: $367m), which exceeded 2019 levels thanks to record North American installed base units, and continued elevated average daily revenue.

SciPlay reported a four percent uptick to $160m (2021: $154m) due to the Alictus acquisition and the core social casino business delivered “strong payer metrics” to outpace “the market and grew share”.

Elsewhere, the group’s igaming division, which was bolstered by April’s addition of Playzido, remained consistent YoY at $60m driven by growth in a US market that delivered a 47 per cent YoY rise.

“We now have all the pieces in place and are singularly focused on building great games fully cross-platform,” Cottle added.

“We recently hosted our inaugural investor day and detailed a roadmap for taking market share and unlocking tremendous value in a $70bn TAM. This quarter we made tangible progress against our strategies as we delivered strong operating momentum and topline growth in the quarter. 

“The success we are seeing this quarter is the result of the fundamental changes we have made throughout the business. Adding it all up, we couldn’t be more excited about the progress we are making and our path forward as the leading cross-platform global game company.”