General

NetDragon Announces Fiscal Year 2021 Financial Results – Yahoo Finance

Revenue and Operating Profits Both Hitting New High

HONG KONG, March 29, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — NetDragon Websoft Holdings Limited (“NetDragon” or the “Company”; Hong Kong Stock Code: 777), a global leader in building internet communities, today announced its financial results for fiscal year 2021. NetDragon’s management team will hold a conference call and webcast at 11:00am Hong Kong time on 30th March 2022 to discuss the results and recent business developments.

NetDragon Websoft Holdings Limited Logo (PRNewsfoto/NetDragon Websoft Holdings Limi)

Mr. Dejian Liu, Chairman of NetDragon, commented, “We are proud of our achievements in 2021 as we delivered yet another year of strong all-round performance. 2021 marked our fifth consecutive year of growth in revenue, operating profits and net profits, and this would not be made possible without our deep investments made in our technologies, IP and sales partnership network. In 2021, our revenue increased by 14.6% YoY, reaching RMB7.0 billion as both our gaming and education businesses continued to grow strongly.”

“Our education revenue in 2021 increased by 32.2% YoY, the highest growth rate in the past four years, as we saw accelerated market growth driven by increasing demand for blended learning solutions around the world. As K-12 educators look for technology tools to educate and interact with students in the new normal of learning, our Promethean products have proven to be the best option in the market as we continued to maintain our number one market share position in the international markets[1]. Our country rollout strategy also continued to make progress. During the second half of the year, we successfully completed the first pilot phase for English Smart Classroom Lab project in Thailand and expanded our strategic cooperation with Ghana Ministry of Education with a target to implement a country-wide blended learning platform. In Egypt, we recently signed a definitive contract to supply 94,000 Promethean interactive flat panels to K-12 schools across the country, another milestone in our long-term partnership with the Ministry of Education.”

“Our gaming business recorded 6.1% in revenue growth and 7.8% in core segmental profits growth as we continued to pursue a balanced, sustainable growth strategy, which resulted in across-the-board revenue growth from PC and mobile platforms, as well as in both China and the overseas markets. Our flagship IP Eudemons continued its upward growth trajectory with a 7.8% YoY revenue increase. We also saw our annual revenue from the Eudemons IP grew by 3.5 times in the past 5 years on the back of a series of significant enhancements in content, gameplay and overall user experience. In December, we successfully launched our new ACGN[2] mobile game under our new IP Under Oath, which not only attests to our ability in new genre development capability, but also significantly extends our reach to young players and lays a solid foundation for our overseas expansion to capitalize on the huge ACGN addressable market overseas.”

“We would like to reiterate our commitment to enhance shareholder value as we continue to execute capital return measures including share buyback and dividends in view of our confidence in future growth prospects and our ability to generate sustained free cash flow. In August 2021, we announced a 3-year share buyback program[3] with a total repurchased amount of up to US$300 million, and to date, we have repurchased 16.2 million shares amounting to US$38.0 million. In total, we returned US$186.4 million to our shareholders in 2021 via a combination of share repurchase and dividends declared, including a US$100 million special interim dividend announced in January 2022.”

Fiscal Year 2021 Financial Highlights

  • Revenue was RMB7.0 billion, representing a 14.6% increase YoY.

  • Revenue from the gaming business was RMB3.6 billion, representing 51.8% of the Company’s total revenue and registering a 6.1% increase YoY.

  • Revenue from the education business was RMB3.2 billion, representing 45.9% of the Company’s total revenue and registering a 32.2% increase YoY.

  • Gross profit was RMB4.5 billion, representing an 8.4% increase YoY.

  • Core segmental profit[4] from the gaming business was RMB2.1 billion, representing a 7.8% increase YoY.

  • Core segmental loss[4] from the education business was RMB411.7 million, representing a 28.4% improvement YoY.

  • EBITDA was RMB1.8 billion, representing a 12.8% increase YoY.

  • Operating profit was RMB1.4 billion, representing a 27.4% increase YoY.

  • Non-GAAP operating profit[5] was RMB1.5 billion, representing a 14.6% increase YoY.

  • Profit attributable to owners of the Company was RMB1.1 billion, representing a 11.4% increase YoY.

  • Non-GAAP profit attributable to owners of the Company[5] was RMB1.3 billion, representing a 13.0% increase YoY.

  • The Company declared a final dividend of HKD0.40 per ordinary share (2020: HKD0.25 per ordinary share), subject to approval at the coming annual general meeting. Total dividends for the year (including special interim dividend declared in January 2022) amounted to HKD2.23 per ordinary share (2020: HKD0.50 per ordinary share), representing approximately 93.8% of the total profit attributable to the owners for the year.

[1] Based on Futuresource Consulting Q4 2021 World Interactive Displays Report in Feb 2022. International market refers to global K-12 interactive panel market excluding China.

[2] ACGN refers to Animation, Comic, Game and Novel

[3] 3-year share buy-back program is up to a total repurchased amount of US$300 million and subject to the buy-back mandate approved by the Shareholders at the annual general meeting in each year, being 10% of the issued share capital, the Rules Governing the Listing of Securities on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited and the Hong Kong Codes on Takeovers and Mergers and Share Buy-Backs.

[4] Core segmental profit (loss) figures are derived from the Company’s reported segmental profit (loss) figures (presented in accordance with Hong Kong Financial Reporting Standard (“HKFRS”) 8) but exclude non-core/operating, non-recurring or unallocated items including government grants, finance costs of financial instruments, intercompany finance costs, impairment loss (net of reversal), impairment loss of goodwill and intangible assets, impairment of interest in an associate, fair value change and exchange loss on financial assets at fair value through profit or loss (“FVTPL”), fair value change and exchange gain on derivative financial instruments, interest expense and exchange gain on convertible and exchangeable bonds and redundancy payment.

[5] To supplement the consolidated results of the Group prepared in accordance with HKFRSs, the use of non-GAAP measures is provided solely to enhance the overall understanding of the Group’s current financial performance. The non-GAAP measures are not expressly permitted measures under HKFRSs and may not be comparable to similarly titled measures for other companies. The non-GAAP measures of the Group exclude share-based payments expense, amortisation of intangible assets arising on acquisitions of subsidiaries, impairment loss of goodwill and intangible assets, impairment of interest in an associate, fair value change on financial assets at FVTPL, fair value change on derivative financial instruments, finance costs, interest income on pledged bank deposits and exchange gain on financial assets at FVTPL, bank borrowings, convertible and exchangeable bonds and derivative financial instruments.

[6] Segmental operating expenses exclude unallocated expenses/income such as depreciation, amortisation and exchange difference that have been grouped into SG&A categories on the Company’s reported consolidated financial statements, but cannot be allocated to specific business segments for purpose of calculating the segmental profit (loss) figures in accordance with HKFRS 8.

Segmental Financial Highlight

FY2021

FY2020

Variance

(RMB ‘000)

Gaming

Education

Gaming
(Restated)

Education
(Restated)

Gaming

Education

Revenue

3,641,562

3,231,003

3,432,666

2,443,941

6.1%

32.2%

Gross Profit

3,473,642

995,312

3,301,513

758,605

5.2%

31.2%

Gross Margin

95.4%

30.8%

96.2%

31.0%

-0.8 ppts

-0.2 ppts

Core Segmental
Profit (Loss)[4]

2,119,937

(411,730)

1,967,160

(574,842)

7.8%

-28.4%

Segmental Operating
Expenses[6]

– Research and
development

(657,547)

(500,903)

(634,272)

(536,678)

3.7%

-6.7%

– Selling and
marketing

(418,952)

(530,140)

(401,142)

(483,215)

4.4%

9.7%

– Administrative

(318,294)

(350,635)

(306,586)

(291,157)

3.8%

20.4%

Gaming Business

Our gaming business continued its growth momentum with both revenue and core segmental profit hitting new highs. Revenue of gaming business increased by 6.1% YoY to RMB3.6 billion, and core segmental profit increased by 7.8% YoY to RMB2.1 billion.

Eudemons, our core flagship IP, achieved revenue growth of 7.8% YoY, and meanwhile has grown its revenue for 7 consecutive years. In 2021, our focus was on understanding the needs of our players together with an optimal monetization strategy that leads to higher revenue generated as a result of an enhanced playing experience, while ensuring a balanced ecosystem within the games. We also executed a multi-pronged content strategy that leads to expansion of monetizable contents which add utilities to our players and creates a pleasant user experience on top of the core MMORPG elements. Furthermore, we launched two expansion packs and multiple rejuvenation marketing campaigns during the year for our flagship game Eudemons Online to drive revenue growth. Another future revenue driver will be our upcoming new game Eudemons Mobile 2, which underwent several rounds of testing during 2021 and is expected to be launched within 2022.

Our overseas revenue increased 7.9% YoY as we continued to replicate our successful model for Conquer Online in Egypt and expanded into the Philippines, U.S., Canada and Saudi Arabia. Further, as MOBA remains one of the most popular game genres globally, we see significant opportunities in the overseas markets for our other flagship game Heroes Evolved given its success in China with over 200 million registered users, and as such we have increased our efforts in developing new markets for this game including Pakistan and Vietnam.

We reached another key milestone by launching a new IP in 2021 as we commenced open-beta testing of our first ACGN mobile game Under Oath in December with over 1 million active users and 152,000 APA[7] in the first month. The successful launch of this game represents an extension of our game development capability to the ACGN genre, which is another major game genre with hundreds of millions of players globally. We currently aim to launch the first overseas version of Under Oath in Southeast Asia in the second half of this year.

We are also excited by the metaverse gaming space that gained tremendous traction in 2021. During 2021, we initiated planning of our first blockchain-based metaverse game under our well-known overseas IP Neopets with an alpha launch of the game scheduled in the second half of 2022. Our vision for this game is to become the leading player in the “pet” asset class on the blockchain, and we expect to differentiate with a “Play-and-Earn” ecosystem with fun gameplay as the primary incentive to play, hence targeting both blockchain and mainstream players, as well as an existing base of 150 million Neopets’ players.

Looking forward, we will continue to pursue a balanced growth strategy which will enable us to continue our growth trajectory in the long run. We expect our revenue growth to come from both existing games and new games. We will also ramp up our effort in exploring the opportunity to develop blockchain-based games, both based on our own IPs as well as new IPs.

Education Business

Revenue from our education business increased by 32.2% YoY to RMB3.2 billion, while core segmental loss decreased by 28.4% YoY. The global pandemic in the past two years has led to fundamental changes in education as blended learning model has become a major global trend. We are in a strong position to capitalize on this unprecedented opportunity as Interactive Flat Panel Display (“IFPD”) is widely seen as the “futureproof” technology to support hybrid learning[8], and we are the clear market leader in this category.

2021 is a year of accelerated market growth as we saw significant momentum in demand from K-12 schools around the world. Shipment volume of interactive flat panel displays in the global K-12 market increased by 24.3% YoY in 2021, representing the highest growth in the past 5 years[8]. During the year, we continued to build on our market leadership position, leading to 32.2% YoY revenue growth for our education business. Specifically, we delivered strong performance in all of our major markets as we maintained our No. 1 market share position in 4 of our top 5 countries in terms of revenue contribution, including the U.S., the U.K., Germany and France. We also continued to execute with operational excellence to overcome supply chain challenges, as we mitigated increase in materials cost and freight cost by strategically enhancing our product mix and adoption of best-in-class logistics planning. The gross margin for our education business was 30.8% in 2021, compared to 31.0% in 2020.

We continued to make progress during the year with our country rollout. In Thailand, our pilot for English Smart Classroom Lab Project was completed with significant quantifiable increase in students’ learning outcomes, and on the back of that, we expect to move towards a nationwide paid pilot this year. In September, we signed a MOU with Ghana Ministry of Education to secure a long-term partnership to develop a country-wide blended learning platform. We also reached another major milestone in Egypt recently by signing a definitive contract to supply 94,000 Promethean interactive flat panels to K-12 schools, and meanwhile large-scale adoption of Edmodo is expected in 2022. We believe the adoption of Edmodo in Egypt will lead to further revenue opportunities down the road as we expect Edmodo to be the go-to platform for contents and services for K-12 students, parents and teachers in the country.

In China, we continued to execute our B2G strategy by working closely with education departments and schools to identify and capture opportunities. During the year, we made solid progress with our Virtual Lab platform in partnership with National Center for Educational Technology (a unit directly affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of Education) by successfully completing the nationwide pilot and covering more than 7,000 schools in 31 provinces that provided the foundation for commercial roll-out in 2022. In November 2021, we achieved another major win as we were awarded the tender to be the technical partner for the Ministry of Education’s National K-12 Smart Education Platform Project. We expect this tender win will enable us to capitalize on future B2G revenue opportunities, which will become mainstream going forward in China.

Looking forward, we expect our overall education business to deliver another strong year in 2022. Global K-12 classroom penetration of interactive display is expected to rise from 18% to 30% by 2025[9], providing ample room for growth of our Promethean panels, while increasing penetration of classroom panels will inevitably open up software and content monetization opportunities, which will put us in a great position as the leading blended learning service provider.

[7] APA refers to Active Paying Account

[8] Based on Futuresource Consulting Q4 2021 World Interactive Displays Report in Feb 2022

[9] Based on Futuresource Consulting Q4 2021 World Interactive Displays Report in Feb 2022

– End –

Management Conference Call and Webcast

NetDragon’s management team will hold a conference call and webcast at 11:00 am Hong Kong time on 30 March 2022 to discuss the results and recent business developments.

Details of the live conference call are as follows:

International +852 2112 1888
Mainland China 4008 428 338
HK (China) +852 2112 1888
US 1 866 226 1406
UK 0800 032 2849
Passcode 8592530#

A live and archived webcast of the conference call will be available on the Investor Relations section of NetDragon’s website at http://ir.nd.com.cn/en/category/webcast. Participants in the live webcast should visit the aforementioned website 10 minutes prior to the call, then click on the icon for “2021 Annual Results Conference Call and Webcast” and follow the registration instructions.

About NetDragon Websoft Holdings Limited

NetDragon Websoft Holdings Limited (HKSE: 0777) is a global leader in building internet communities with a long track record of developing and scaling multiple internet and mobile platforms that impact hundreds of millions of users, including previous establishments of China’s first online gaming portal, 17173.com, and China’s most influential smartphone app store platform, 91 Wireless.

Established in 1999, NetDragon is one of the most reputable and well-known online game developers in China with a history of successful game titles including Eudemons Online, Heroes Evolved, Conquer Online and Under Oath. In recent years, NetDragon has also started to scale its online education business on the back of management’s vision to create the largest global online learning community, and to bring true integrated blended learning solutions to every school around the world.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF PROFIT OR LOSS AND OTHER COMPREHENSIVE INCOME

FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 DECEMBER 2021

2021

2020

RMB’000

RMB’000

Revenue

7,035,496

6,137,640

Cost of revenue

(2,512,930)

(1,966,376)

Gross profit

4,522,566

4,171,264

Other income and gains

223,893

230,884

Impairment loss under expected credit loss model,

net of reversal

(8,077)

1,607

Selling and marketing expenses

(955,413)

(893,513)

Administrative expenses

(955,673)

(903,111)

Development costs

(1,159,308)

(1,175,928)

Other expenses and losses

(266,118)

(326,817)

Share of results of associates

(14,807)

(15,080)

Share of results of joint ventures

(1,586)

(1,783)

Operating profit

1,385,477

1,087,523

Interest income on pledged bank deposits

819

3,263

Exchange gain on financial assets at fair value through profit or
loss, bank borrowings, convertible and exchangeable bonds
and derivative financial instruments

18,605

45,302

Fair value change on financial assets at fair value
through profit or loss

20,299

51,733

Fair value change on derivative financial instruments

(2,879)

43,323

Finance costs

(185,896)

(157,680)

Profit before taxation

1,236,425

1,073,464

Taxation

(253,067)

(217,644)

Profit for the year

983,358

855,820

Other comprehensive (expense) income for the year,

net of income tax:

Item that may be reclassified subsequently to profit or loss:

Exchange differences arising on translation of foreign
operations

(24,716)

(11,568)

Item that will not be reclassified to profit or loss:

Fair value (loss) gain on equity instruments at fair value
t
hrough other comprehensive income

(2,645)

6,042

Other comprehensive expense for the year

(27,361)

(5,526)

Total comprehensive income for the year

955,997

850,294

Profit (loss) for the year attributable to:

– Owners of the Company

1,062,060

953,501

– Non-controlling interests

(78,702)

(97,681)

983,358

855,820

Total comprehensive income (expense) for the year
attributable to:

– Owners of the Company

1,036,088

944,235

– Non-controlling interests

(80,091)

(93,941)

955,997

850,294

RMB cents

RMB cents

Earnings per share

– Basic

191.67

171.19

– Diluted

191.58

170.96

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL POSITION

AT 31 DECEMBER 2021

2021

2020

RMB’000

RMB’000

Non-current assets

Property, plant and equipment

1,939,499

1,992,708

Right-of-use assets

428,278

455,011

Investment properties

77,062

76,529

Intangible assets

772,309

625,771

Interests in associates

35,119

49,659

Interests in joint ventures

14,977

16,563

Equity instruments at fair value through
other comprehensive income

8,105

10,808

Financial assets at fair value through profit or loss

266,078

281,194

Loan receivables

8,220

10,421

Other receivables, prepayments and deposits

37,543

62,841

Deposits made for acquisition of property,
plant and equipment

4,690

3,630

Goodwill

217,087

241,332

Deferred tax assets

135,076

43,437

3,944,043

3,869,904

Current assets

Properties under development

316,872

263,915

Properties for sale

205,273

253,367

Inventories

685,117

316,909

Loan receivables

22,207

22,042

Trade receivables

831,986

525,353

Other receivables, prepayments and deposits

481,455

399,537

Contract assets

11,692

12,236

Amount due from a related company

47

Amounts due from joint ventures

2,945

974

Tax recoverable

25,273

14,035

Financial assets at fair value through profit or loss

1,852

5,781

Restricted bank balances

7,828

15,611

Pledged bank deposits

1,047

146,073

Bank deposits with original maturity over three months

630,000

33,021

Bank balances and cash

3,717,246

4,114,410

6,940,793

6,123,311

Current liabilities

Trade and other payables

1,455,221

1,091,369

Contract liabilities

357,240

405,483

Lease liabilities

63,571

56,224

Provisions

88,784

71,501

Derivative financial instruments

42,565

40,894

Amount due to an associate

936

3,484

Amount due to a joint venture

593

Convertible and exchangeable bonds

15,000

15,351

Bank borrowings

402,910

154,597

Dividend payable to non-controlling interests

99

Tax payable

127,882

121,083

2,554,109

1,960,678

Net current assets

4,386,684

4,162,633

Total assets less current liabilities

8,330,727

8,032,537

Non-current liabilities

Other payables

10,763

5,409

Convertible preferred shares

Convertible and exchangeable bonds

1,069,874

976,765

Bank borrowings

191,073

Lease liabilities

95,370

116,453

Deferred tax liabilities

80,111

90,907

1,256,118

1,380,607

Net assets

7,074,609

6,651,930

Capital and reserves

Share capital

39,795

40,951

Share premium and reserves

7,274,605

6,766,393

Equity attributable to owners of the Company

7,314,400

6,807,344

Non-controlling interests

(239,791)

(155,414)

7,074,609

6,651,930

UNAUDITED RECONCILIATIONS OF GAAP AND NON-GAAP RESULTS

2021

2020

(Unaudited)

(Unaudited)

RMB’000

RMB’000

Operating profit

1,385,477

1,087,523

Add:

Share-based payments expense

13,885

32,125

Amortisation of intangible assets arising on acquisitions of subsidiaries

64,137

67,206

Impairment loss of goodwill and intangible assets

20,929

127,913

Impairment of interest in an associate

22,570

Non-GAAP operating profit

1,506,998

1,314,767

Profit attributable to owners of the Company

1,062,060

953,501

Add:

Share-based payments expense

13,881

32,117

Amortisation of intangible assets arising on acquisitions of subsidiaries

49,433

51,269

Impairment loss of goodwill and intangible assets

11,779

98,785

Impairment of interest in an associate

20,339

Finance costs[10]

168,198

143,414

Fair value loss on derivative financial instruments

2,879

Less:

Fair value gain on financial assets at fair value through profit or loss

(21,218)

(50,496)

Fair value gain on derivative financial instruments

(43,323)

Exchange gain on financial assets at fair value through
profit or loss, bank borrowings, convertible and
exchangeable bonds and derivative financial instruments

(16,234)

(39,671)

Interest income on pledged bank deposits

(819)

(3,263)

Non-GAAP profit attributable to owners of the
Company

1,290,298

1,142,333

[10] Substantially non-cash

Cision

Cision

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SOURCE NetDragon Websoft Holdings Limited

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