Keywords Studios restarts dividends after another bumper year

Video game services firm Keywords Studios kicks off dividend payouts again after enjoying another bumper year across its bottom line

  • Final dividend of 1.45p a share for a total dividend for 2021 of 2.15p
  •  Keywords saw revenue growth of 37% to £433.6m over the past year

Keywords Studios has enjoyed another year of high double-digit earnings and revenue growth.

The video game industry services group said this year had also started off well, amid high demand for all its service lines.

The company’s board recommended a final dividend of 1.45p a share, which will make a total dividend for 2021 of 2.15p per share. 

Upbeat: Keywords Studios has enjoyed another year of high double-digit earnings and revenue growth

Keywords saw its revenue grow 37 per cent to €512.2million (£433.6million) over the past year, while organic revenue growth was up 19 per cent. 

Adjusted profit before tax rose 56 per cent to €86million, with margins up to 16.8 per cent from 14.7 per cent. The firm’s statutory pre-tax profit jumped 48 per cent to €48million. 

New chief executive, Bertrand Bodson, said: ‘The underlying video games market remains buoyant, with 2022 expected to be a particularly strong year for new game launches, as developers and publishers look to capitalise on higher player numbers and create ever more sophisticated content to engage players in their games for longer.’

Keywords, which provides services to 23 of the top 25 most prominent games companies such as Activision Blizzard, has worked on recent games including Uncharted 4, Call of Duty: WWII, Mortal Combat X, Assassin’s Creed Origins, Battlefield 1, League of Legends, Fortnite, Clash Royale and Rainbow Six Siege.

The group has net cash of €105.6million, backed by a €150million undrawn revolving bank facility, as management constantly reviews a ‘healthy pipeline’ of further acquisition opportunities, Bodson said.

Inflationary pressures and competition for talent were acknowledged, but the company said it was taking account of costs as projects were agreed with clients who are well aware of the industry-wide talent challenge.

Keywords said it was ‘monitoring the situation in Russia, where our teams continue to work but entirely focused on critical work for non-Russian clients’, and is ‘actively looking at relocating work to other locations across the group’. 

Bodson said trading in the first quarter has started with ‘strong demand across all of our service lines, underpinning our confidence in delivering a performance for the full year towards the top end of current market expectations’.

He added: ‘We expect the group’s trading momentum to continue through 2022, with the increased flow of content to our later stage service lines seen in the second half of 2021 continuing into this year, alongside further strong demand for our earlier stage services such as game development, art creation and marketing.’

Keywords Studios’ shares have jumped sharply today and were up 5.05 per cent or 118.00p to 2,456.00p just before 10.30am. The company’s shares have fallen by about 5 per cent in the past year.