volution released Tuesday its Interim Report for the first quarter of the year, January-March 2021. Its operating revenues increased by 105% to EUR 235.8 million, and EBITDA soared 150% to EUR 160.1 million, corresponding to a margin of 67.9%.
Profit for the period amounted to EUR 132.0 million, and earnings per share before dilution amounted to EUR 0.62.
During the period, the company saw a continued high demand, generating a positive effect on margin development. Evolution completed its synergy project related to NetEnt acquisition, and after the end of the period, it entered into an agreement to acquire online slot machine developer Big Time Gaming, a transaction expected to be completed during the second quarter.
"The positive trend from 2020 continues into the first quarter of 2021 where we see a good momentum both in terms of growth and profitability," said Evolution CEO Martin Carlesund in a press release. "The integration of NetEnt has been successful. I am truly impressed by the work from our teams, who, without losing focus on the daily high-quality delivery, and in a very short time, have managed to merge both workflows and organizational structure. We can already see good results from this work in the first quarter and I believe that we are well-set to continue to capitalize on the growing interest in online casino world-wide."
Furthermore, Carlesund said its Live Casino business continued to show very strong year-on-year growth reaching 60 percent in the quarter. "It is the highest growth rate we have ever recorded in a quarter. We had a great momentum during 2020 and the group has continued to see a strong underlying demand for online casino with operators also in the first quarter of 2021. The RNG business started the year 2021 with growth of 6 percent compared to NetEnt revenues Q1 2020. This is in line with our near-term expectations. For the second quarter, we face somewhat tougher comparable figures, relating, particularly for the NetEnt business driven by the pandemic effects for NetEnt in Q2 2020," he explained.
The CEO also anticipated new games lined up for 2021. "This summer will see the release of the first product coming out of the cross-functional collaboration between the live and the RNG product development teams, Gonzo’s Treasure Hunt. This product will combine a popular IP with the best from the live and the RNG worlds. Our slots offering is being re-vamped during the year and will include a new take on some of the most popular titles as well as brand-new games from both the NetEnt and Red Tiger brands," Carlesund said. "During 2021, we will also add new games to the Live Game Show segment, as well as new innovative takes on traditional live table games."
In terms of regional performance, he noted, all regions delivered "good growth" in the first quarter, with "very high growth rates" in Asia and North America. Due to the pandemic, several studios continue to operate with somewhat limited capacity to ensure all safety and protective measures for staff can be kept in place, the CEO added. "As all operators have experienced increased traffic over the last year, the pent-up demand for new tables is an important driver of the capacity expansion now taking place in some of our existing studios as well as a reason for our continuous investment in new studio development. Going forward, we intend to keep the investment in operational capacity at similar rates but as always in a trade off between margin and revenue we will always go for market shares."