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  • Catena Media expects North America revenue to break $100m barrier in 2022 as market accounts for 51% of Q4 revenue
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The share price of Catena Media has fallen by more than 9% in early trading despite the affiliate reporting a 19.9% year-on-year rise in Q4 revenue to €31.9m.

Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter came to €12.8m, up 4.3% from €12.3m in Q4 2020. During the period, Catena registered 135,250 new depositing customers (NDCs), an increase of 8.2% on the same period of last year.

The majority of quarterly revenue (€19.9m) came from the casino sector, which grew by 24.8% year-on-year. Casino contributed 65,284 of registered NDCs, down slightly from 65,947 in Q4 2020.

Sports betting revenue came to €11.1m in Q4 amid a rise of 19.5%, while the number of NDCs in the vertical also increased by 19.2%, to 69,641.

The firm’s financial trading segment generated €876,000, down 36.0% from €1.4m last year. Catena registered just 325 NDCs in this vertical during the quarter.

The vast majority of quarterly revenue, €30.5m, was generated by organic search traffic, up 28.9%, while paid advertising revenue accounted for the remaining €1.4m, down 46.3%. The business generated no subscription revenue during the quarter, compared to €375,000 in Q4 2020.

Approximately 53% of Q4 revenue came from CPA agreements, while 38% came from the rev share model. The remaining 9% was generated by fixed fee contracts.

Catena’s effective tax rate during Q4 was 12%, up from 10% in the corresponding period, leaving the business with earnings after tax of €5.8m, down from €7.7m in Q4 2020.

“A variety of temporary factors impacted on the bottom line during the quarter,” said Catena Media CEO Michael Daly. “Revenue pressure on sports betting operators in Europe squeezed our margins there.”

Meanwhile, he said: “In Japan, the easing of Covid-related restrictions caused a drop in online casino sessions as users seized the opportunity to spend more time outside home. We also resumed our investment programme for future growth as the easing of the pandemic enabled a gradual normalisation of business conditions and the consumer environment.”

Further, Daly added: “Investments were made across the group in personnel and technology to support growth and to further improve the foundational architecture of our brands so we are fully equipped to deliver profitable double-digit growth today and for years to come. This spending on our future long-term success will continue through 2022.”

The company continues to invest in adapting to regulations in European markets, notably in Italy and Germany, while also further investing in its growth across North America, Latam, Asia-Pacific and parts of Africa.

In the key strategic market of North America, Daly said: “Year-on-year performance remained buoyed by the legalisation during 2021 of online sports betting and casino gaming in Michigan and online sports betting in Virginia, Arizona and Wyoming. 

“In each case, our approach of investing substantially in the market prior to launch paid off handsomely. We successfully deployed similar tactics in New York and Louisiana prior to the legalisation of online sports betting in both states in January 2022. New York is likely to be our largest sports market going forward.”

Looking at full-year 2021, total revenue for the group came to €136.1m, an increase of 28.4% over 2020’s €106.0m.

Adjusted EBITDA in 2021 rose by 32.4% to €68.8m. This gave the business an adjusted EBITDA margin of 51% for the full year, up slightly from 49% in 2020.

Catena said the increase in margin was mainly due to higher revenue exceeding its increase in costs.

However, operating profit for the year – which totalled just €3.5m, down from €38.5m – was negatively impacted by a non-cash impairment on intangible assets of €49.4m. This consisted of €42.8m relating to German sports assets acquired between 2016 and 2018, and €6.6m relating to French sports assets acquired in 2018.

Total comprehensive income for the full year comprised a net loss of €12.7m, compared to a net income of €11.1m in 2020.

Looking to the year ahead, Daly said: “Early in 2022, our affiliate sports betting offers enjoyed successful launches in New York and Louisiana. We also look forward with anticipation to the scheduled launch of sportsbook betting and casino gaming in Ontario in Canada at the start of Q2. 

“Our extensive programme of advance investment and preparation gives us high expectations that Ontario will be among our largest North American markets in the future. 

“If the market develops at its current expected rate, and no delays or similar unforeseen events occur in relation to scheduled market openings, we confidently expect revenue in North America to surpass $100m in 2022,” he concluded.

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