Clash of Clans maker Supercell lifted by strength in Asia

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finnish mobile games maker Supercell reported rising full-year sales and core profit on Wednesday, with hit titles Clash of Clans, Hay Day and Boom Beach continuing to gain momentum in Asian markets.

A man dressed as a character from Clash of Clans mobile game uses at an ATM at the New York Comic Con in Manhattan, New York, October 8, 2015. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Supercell has a handful of successful games and derives a significant amount of its revenue from in-game purchases, helping it to avoid the problems faced by the likes of rival Rovio Entertainment, which has failed to create a new hit game since its 2009 launch of Angry Birds.

The company, which is majority owned by Japanese technology and telecoms group SoftBank Corp 9984.T, said its games are played daily by more than 100 million people worldwide and its latest title, Clash Royale, has been among the top-grossing mobile games in 52 countries since its release in late February.

Supercell’s 2015 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were up 64 percent at 848 million euros ($930 million) on revenue that increased by 36 percent to 2.11 billion euros.

Chief Executive Ilkka Paananen said that last year’s growth was driven by rising sales in Asia, particularly in China, where Supercell released Clash of Clans in all the main mobile application stores in 2015.

“China is our biggest market and I believe it will soon become the biggest market globally for mobile games,” Paananen said.

An analyst said that Supercell has been more successful than its Western competitors in breaking into the Asian markets.

“The mobile game market is maturing quickly, but audiences in growing markets like South-East Asia and Latin America won’t necessarily spend as much on in-game purchases” said Jack Kent at IHS Technology.

Supercell was listed as the top-earning application publisher in the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store in 2015 by research company App Annie, ahead of Candy Crush maker King ATVI.O.

CEO Paananen said that Supercell, which has only 180 employees, is in no rush to release new games and will continue to focus on a catalog of only four titles.

IHS Technology’s Kent does not see that as a problem.

“There comes a time when all games wane in popularity, but Supercell’s audience will certainly give them scale to build on when that happens,” he said.

($1 = 0.9114 euros)

Reporting by Tuomas Forsell; Editing by David Goodman