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Keywords Studios to resume dividend after ‘strong’ start to 2021 as CEO hails ‘buoyant video games market’

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Keywords Studios is to resume dividend payments after seeing a “strong” start to 2021 as the lockdown video game boom continues.

In its 2020 full year results, released today, the video games industry services provider reported an adjusted pre-tax profit up 34.5% on the prior year to €55 million. Revenues were up 14.4% to €373.5 million.

The company said the recent launches of PlayStation5 and Xbox X|S have led to “stronger demand across our service lines” in 2021, and that it expects publishers in the “buoyant video games market” to continue to focus on developing new games this year to satisfy a pandemic-increased audience.

Jon Hauck, Keywords Studios joint interim chief executive, said the company is planning acquisitions, and is well placed “for further growth and long-term success”.

He said: “As we enter 2021, we are very confident in the Group’s opportunity for growth due to the continued trend towards outsourcing and an increased focus on content creation in a growing video games market.

“This combined with our ability to increase our market share and to selectively acquire high quality businesses will allow us to further cement our position as the ‘go to’ provider of technical and creative services to a global client base.”

Chairman, Ross Graham, said in the statement that “having previously suspended our dividend programme, we continue to expect to resume our progressive dividend policy in the 2021 financial year”.

The London-listed Irish firm, founded in 1998, has a market cap of around £2 billion. Management control around 9% of the shares.

Its share price dropped earlier this month when chief executive Andrew Day stood down temporarily for health reasons. Hauck, chief financial officer, and Sonia Sedler, its chief operating officer, are running the company in his absence. Day is expected to return and remains on the Board of Directors.

Shares were up 2.7%, or 64p, to 2470p in early trading on Wednesday morning.

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