CryptoLogic Chief Bullish on '08, '09 Revenue Growth

14 May 2008

The chief executive of CryptoLogic Ltd., Brian H. Hadfield, said the company intends to bring total revenue back to pre-U.S.-exit levels -- $104 million -- by the end of 2009 via aggressive acquisition of licensees and strong returns on its Asian investments.

"For our Asian investments, we see modest revenue in the second quarter, more revenue in the third and fourth of this year," Mr. Hadfield told Interactive Gaming News in a telephone interview Tuesday.

"And then, next year, our plan is that revenue from that part of the world (Asia) will constitute roughly 13 percent of our total revenue, and our total revenue is planned to be back at pre-U.S. exit."

The London-listed software developer's first-quarter results, released Monday, revealed total revenue of $19.1 million, up 21 percent -- excluding unique items -- against the previous-year quarter.

While revenue from casino -- its flagship offering -- was up 33 percent to $13.4 million against the first quarter of last year, revenue from poker was down 17.9 percent to $4.2 million.

Stagnation in poker player liquidity remains a challenge for the company in an increasingly competitive environment, one it expects will be offset by new licensing agreements with, the Scandinavia-facing online poker operator, and Maharajah Club, the U.K.-based online operator with Asia-facing ambitions.

Regarding revenue from and Maharajah Club, Mr. Hadfield said the two would likely begin contributing materially from the first quarter of 2009.

However, he said the company's recent games licensing deal with 888 Holdings, the online operator, is expected to have a positive material impact on revenue from the fourth quarter of this year.

Mr. Hadfield said the 888 agreement, covering the supply of certain casino titles -- rather than a complete turnkey platform -- reflected a change in its orientation toward the software licensing market.

"In the old days, I think the Crypto motto was 'big brands, big deals,' and if it doesn't fall into that category, then we might not do it," he said. "But the marketplace, as you know, has changed dramatically, and whilst big deals are still good deals, there are lots of complimentary things you can do."

Meanwhile, the company -- like its rival, Playtech Ltd. -- will actively pursue migrations. Maharajah Club, for reference, was a former licensee of Boss Media.

"I know you will see us adding some licensees who are currently not free agents, let me put it that way," said Mr. Hadfield.

"Again we all have to be pragmatic about that. There are some that have a propensity to move, and there are some that don't.

"We believe that we have a very strong option -- a compelling option, I think -- so yes, we are in the market of winning business. And that will occasionally be someone else's."

With the addition of Khel Ghalli, a CuraƧao-licensed, Asia-facing startup, CryptoLogic serves 15 licensees; and Mr. Hadfield said the company has plans to ink deals with as many as five more before the fiscal year concludes.

The company, with a market cap of $244.10 million, concluded the three months to March 31 with $81 million in cash.

On the London Stock Exchange Thursday, CryptoLogic was down 8.50p, or 0.85 percent, to 992.50.

Chris Krafcik is the editor of IGamingNews. He lives in St. Louis, Mo.