Nektan’s Q3 trading update shows revenues increasing rapidly, albeit from a much lower base than we hoped last year. We are reintroducing FY16 forecasts (EBITDA loss of £5.6m versus our October 2015 target of £0.2m profit) and will add FY17 in July. With Q316 revenue 115% higher than Q216 and following a cost efficiency programme, we believe that a positive EBITDA run rate is within sight. Nektan’s unconsolidated US JV Respin is also picking up steam and now has 54 signed contracts with casino operators. Nektan successfully completed a £2.93m fund-raising at the end of March to support its continuing growth.
Nektan reported interim revenues of £1.6m on 31 March, up from £0.5m for the whole of FY15, illustrating that its B2B partnerships and house brands are starting to bear fruit. However, the ramp-up in sales was slower than we expected, largely due to slow progress from a significant media partner (£6.7m shortfall), and we have cut our forecasts: we now expect FY16 revenues of £6.2m and an EBITDA loss of £5.6m, down from £15.0m and £0.2m profit respectively. However, the Q316 trading update (18 April) shows the group now moving in very much the right direction, with Q316 net gaming revenue (NGR) of £2.30m, up from £1.07m in Q216 and £0.56m in Q116, and 11 new partners added in the period.
Following an extensive review, Nektan has adopted a leaner cost structure consistent with its early stage of development and management has cut the fixed cost base from £0.5m to £0.3m a month. Developer and marketing costs have been largely protected to ensure that the company’s growth potential is not inhibited. We expect Nektan to achieve an EBITDA-positive run rate in this financial year and will reintroduce FY17 estimates in July with the full-year trading update. The recent £2.93m fund-raise (convertible loan notes and equity) has put in place additional working capital and the directors continue to assess the group’s financing options.
Nektan’s recent share price fall is a reflection of its slower than anticipated revenue progression but we believe the growing momentum in its European business, together with the progress of its US JV Respin, point to a business with enduring potential, albeit in a competitive vertical. The next trading update should be a positive catalyst if it confirms progress towards an EBITDA-positive position and, with the reintroduction of FY17 estimates, provides greater clarity on valuation.