October 19, 2017 / 6:52 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-MTG cuts profit guidance for MTGx unit as investments rise

(Adds details, background)

Oct 19 (Reuters) - Swedish media group MTG posted third-quarter operating earnings just above market forecasts on Thursday but said it had cut its profit expectations for the remainder of the year for its digital arm MTGx, an important growth engine for the firm.

* Q3 ‍sales rise to 4,280 mln SEK ($526 million), with 7 pct organic growth, versus yr-ago 3,657 million ​

* Q3 ‍operating income up 83 pct to SEK 257 million​

* Reuters poll: MTG Q3 sales were seen at 4,195 million SEK, EBIT at 251 million SEK

* Says ‍organic sales development reflected 39 pct growth for MTGx businesses, including 49 pct organic esports sales growth​

* Says ‍following the investments that we have made, we have adjusted our expectations for MTGx’s full year results

* MTGx has a major esports business and is also a game developer​

* Says ‍it remains our ambition to deliver a first quarterly profit for MTGx in Q4 of this year, but at a lower level than previously anticipated​

* MTGx Q3 EBIT -38 million SEK vs -15.5 million SEK mean analyst forecast

* Says losses for MTGx’s esports operations did increase as we further scaled up our market presence

* Says investing in new products because of the exponential growth in the viewing numbers for each esports event, and publishers’ greater focus on esports

* Says this is attracting more interest, but high margin sponsorship and distribution sales have been slower to materialise than anticipated

* Says ‍our objective remains to deliver profitable full year growth for group’s continuing operations, as well as for Nordic Entertainment segment

* MTG shares are up 18 pct YTD​ Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage: ($1 = 8.1392 Swedish crowns) (Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom; editing by Niklas Pollard)

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