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  • FY 2023: Playtech revenue rises 7% amid escalating Caliplay dispute
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Playtech generated a 7% year-on-year revenue increase to €1.71bn in 2023, alongside a 9% rise in adjusted EBITDA to €432.3m.

While Playtech stressed the “solid performance” across both its B2B and B2C operations, both business units face challenges. 

Its B2B division is dealing with an ongoing legal dispute with one of its major clients, while in B2C Playtech continues to seek M&A opportunities to strengthen its operations.

B2B revenue

Playtech’s B2B revenue grew to €684.1m in 2023, an 8% year-on-year increase, while adjusted EBITDA reached €182m, up 14% on 2022.

Latin America, and in particular Caliplay in Mexico, has been a significant contributor to the growth.

“The underlying performance of Caliplay in 2023 has been remarkable and a big driver of the excellent performance of the B2B division,” said Playtech CEO Mor Weizer.

However, Playtech added that the ongoing dispute between Playtech and Caliplay has escalated.

According to Playtech, Caliplay has failed to pay B2B licence fees dating back to August 2023, as well as B2B services fees from July 2023.

The total amount owed to Playtech has now reached €86.5m.

During today’s (27 March) earnings call, Playtech CFO Chris McGinnis commented: “We have recognised the full outstanding amount of €86.5m within total revenue and adjusted EBITDA for the year as we have assessed that is highly probable that this will be collected in a subsequent period. 

“However, as we have not yet received the cash we are contractually owed, we have a material increase in debtors for 2023 and a €283m net debt position at the end of the year.”  

However, McGinnis added that “Caliplay remains a highly important customer for Playtech and we have been in dialogue with them to discuss resolving the situation but there can be no certainty on the outcome.”

Despite the Caliplay challenges, CEO Weizer stressed that the group “laid the groundwork for future growth in the US” through the strategic partnership with Hard Rock Digital and the opening of a third live casino facility in Pennsylvania. 

Playtech now holds 11 licences in the US, with further applications pending. 

Weizer also pointed to Playtech’s multi-year transformation programme for the B2B division, emphasising strategic resource allocation and growth opportunities in the Americas and the live casino vertical.

B2C division 

Meanwhile, Playtech’s B2C division reported revenue of €1.04bn, up 5% from FY 2022 and marking the first time annual B2C revenue has exceeded the €1bn mark.

Adjusted EBITDA for the division reached €250m, a 6% increase over FY 2022.

Snaitech, which accounts for the lion’s share of this part of B2C revenue, was impacted by customer-friendly sporting results in H2 2023.

However, the group said it believes Snaitech remains well positioned to benefit from the under-penetration of the online segment, given the strength of its brand, continuous improvements to apps and technology, and a broadening of its content offering. 

“We remain very optimistic about the prospects for B2C, and are actively looking to accelerate the division’s growth through targeted M&A and by optimising HAPPYBET’s online offering,” Weizer added.

In 2023, Playtech attempted multiple acquisitions, including SKS365 and 888

Analyst reaction

Despite the Caliplay dispute, Peel Hunt analyst Ivor Jones reacted positively. Moreover, Peel Hunt believes “Playtech can tolerate prolonged litigation.“

“There is an additional risk that Caliplay, out of jurisdiction, would refuse to pay, but Playtech believes that this would not be consistent with Caliplay’s behaviour up to this point, or its broader commercial interests,” the investment bank added in a note sent to investors.

On the assumption that a commercial solution can be found, Peel Hunt reiterated its buy rating and its target price of 700p.

Meanwhile Neil Shah, director of research at Edison Group, said: “All eyes will be on Playtech in October when the case goes to trial and may result in a significant loss of revenue if Caliplay does not fulfil its payment obligations.”

However, Shah also added that Playtech maintained a resilient balance sheet with leverage at 0.7x, bolstered by successful operations in the US and strategic partnerships.

Outlook

Playtech said its outlook for 2024 is positive, with a solid start to trading indicating strong underlying growth trends in B2B across regulated markets including the Americas, and B2C. 

The group maintained its medium-term adjusted EBITDA targets of €200m to €250m for B2B and €300m to €350m for B2C.