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Game firm Supercell pins hopes on likely new billion-euro hit

CEO Ilkka Paananen said that Supercell had paid Finnish authorities 100 million euros in taxes based on 2019 profits.

Supercellin Ilkka Paananen infotilaisuudessa.
Supercell CEO Ilkka Paananen Image: Toni Määttä / Yle

Finnish game firm Supercell announced mixed financial results on Tuesday and said that it expects its newest title, Brawl Stars, to follow its previous four ventures and rack up sales of one billion euros.

Financial figures released on Tuesday showed results largely on par with the previous year. Sales rose by two percent to 1.4 billion euros. However earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBIDTA) fell by four percent to 517 million euros.

"I think a result that is more than half a billion euros is good for a company with 300 employees. We have successfully maintained our position in a super competitive and extremely fast changing field. There are 600,000 games in app stores and on average 600 new games are released every day," CEO Ilkka Paananen said.

Paananen noted that payroll growth had been moderate – at the end of 2019, it employed 300 people from 30 countries.

"It’s important to use to keep the company small. We believe it will help us to focus on doing and we can minimise unnecessary red tape. We also think it’s nicer to work in a small company," Paananen added.

The company is majority-owned by the Luxembourg-based consortium Halti (81.4 percent), with Chinese tech giant Tencent in turn owning 51.2 percent of Halti. Supercell did not release any additional financial data for 2019.

New game a billion-euro contender

The Supercell CEO named its new multiplayer shooter game Brawl Stars as one of the highlights of 2019 and also mentioned the continued success of its strategy game Clash of Clans, which was launched in 2012.

He said that Brawl Stars is on trend to follow in the footsteps of its four other games and join the billion-euro class in terms of sales.

"So far each of our previous four games has generated billion-euro sales. Brawl Stars is well on its way to joining the club. Player numbers have grown every month," Paananen said in a statement.

Brawl Stars had its first full year on the market in 2019. In December, the eight-year-old Clash of Clans was named by the mobile analytics site App Annie as the most popular game of the last decade. Clash Royale, a tower rush strategy game released in 2016, was number 10 in the same ranking.

"Each of the games on that list has earned its place by posting strong results year after year. Their sustained performance tells us that we have succeeded in also ensuring that our older games are interesting and current by focusing on updates and constant service to our players," Paananen commented.

The game firm executive has topped Finland’s list of high income earners for the past two years.

Paananen said on Tuesday that Supercell had contributed 100 million euros in corporate taxes based on its profits in 2019.

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