Saturday 25 November 2017

Losses narrow at Smurfit's GAN firm

GAN chief Dermot Smurfit Jr says interest shown by Dermot Desmond in the gaming technology also sparked his family’s backing Picture: Richard Eaton
GAN chief Dermot Smurfit Jr says interest shown by Dermot Desmond in the gaming technology also sparked his family’s backing Picture: Richard Eaton
Michael Cogley

Michael Cogley

GAN, the gaming software company headed up by Dermot Smurfit Jr, has posted a £2.3m (€2.67m) loss for the first six months of the year.

Mr Smurfit's business narrowed its losses year on year by £300,000 (€348,423) as the company notched 300,000 active player days in the US.

Total income at the firm, which provides gaming technology to casinos and online operators, increased by 21pc to £15.9m.

Its products include both real money gambling and "simulated gaming", where players buy virtual currency to gamble for entertainment and not profit.

The simulated gaming business reported the strongest increase in revenue out of all of its products, up 74pc to £1.4m.

The improved revenues come after the decision by Dermot Desmond to invest in GAN. Desmond's IIU Nominees invested £1.3m into the company, bringing its stake up to 4.6pc.

At the end of June GAN had cash of £4m on its books with £10.5m worth of assets.

Chief executive Dermot Smurfit Jr said the business has continued to build on a substantial recurring revenue base during the period.

"In particular, Simulated Gaming revenues have grown substantially year on year driven by new client launches and phasing in of marketing investment by existing clients of Simulated Gaming.

"In addition, we have seen encouraging growth in sustainable market revenues in both New Jersey and Italy," Mr Smurfit said.

"The rapid growth in Simulated Gaming revenues is particularly important as we believe over time they will substantially compensate for the slower than expected pace of the development of real-money internet gaming in the US."

GAN boasts other Smurfit family members among its investors. Dermot Smurfit Jr's uncle, Michael Smurfit, owns just under 10pc of the company as per the company's annual report. Smurfit Kappa boss Tony Smurfit also owns around 8.5pc of the business.

Davy analyst David Jennings said the results will received a mixed reception from shareholders despite revenues meeting targets.

"The delay in further US regulation of real money gaming means that the prospects for an internet gaming system sale have diminished.

"Such a sale was expected to make up the vast majority of 2016 earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA). As a result, we are now removing such a sale (valued at £5m) from our forecasts," he said.

Irish Independent

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