MOSCOW, March 1, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --
Mail.Ru Group Limited (MAIL.IL, hereinafter referred to as "the Company" or "the Group"), one of the largest Internet companies in the Russian-speaking Internet market, today releases audited IFRS results and segment financial information for the year ended 31 December 2017.
Three months ended 31 December 2017
- Q4 2017 Group aggregate segment revenue grew 32.6% Y-o-Y to RUR 17,564 million.
- Q4 2017 Group aggregate segment EBITDA grew 29.7% Y-o-Y to RUR 6,445 million.
- Q4 2017 Group aggregate net profit grew 54.0% Y-o-Y at RUR 4,514 million.
Twelve months ended 31 December 2017
- FY 2017 Group aggregate segment revenue grew 34.4% Y-o-Y to RUR 57,469 million.
- FY 2017 Group aggregate segment EBITDA grew 14.7% Y-o-Y to RUR 20,551 million.
- FY 2017 Group aggregate net profit grew 22.6% Y-o-Y to RUR 14,244 million.
Net cash position as of 31 December 2017 was RUR 15,371 million.
Key Recent Developments
Operational and product updates
- Mail.Ru Group ranked No.1 mobile app publisher in Russia in terms of both downloads and consumer spend (AppAnnie 2017 Retrospective Report).
- VK, Youla, OK and Mail.Ru Email apps listed among the Best iPhone Apps of 2017 by Apple App Store (Russia).
- VK, VK Live, BeepCar and Pandao listed among the Best Apps of 2017 by Google Play (Russia).
- Youla introduced monetization; first results reported in mid-December with 2 million roubles daily revenue 1 month after launch.
- Youla launched cars section basing on the assets and expertise of Am.ru.
- Delivery Club reached a new record high of 1m monthly orders in December 2017.
- AI-based personalized restaurant feed in Delivery Club.
- Pandao processed 500k orders in Q4 2017 growing to a peak daily order of 370k in February 2018.
- Multiple enhancements of messaging in VK: delete message for all chat members, send chat invitation link, edit sent messages, pin messages in chat, etc.
- VK rolled out an editor for long-reads - tools for writers and new functional layout for readers. 400k articles were created within 1 week after launch.
- VK launched replies in stories and stories from groups.
- VK held its first VK Music Awards ceremony that was live-streamed in the mobile screencast format.
- OK launched online broadcasting in Ultra HD (4K).
- OK extends Like button with different animated emojis.
- New section with third-party services on OK.
- Global launch of new mobile game Hustle Castle on iOS and Android.
- Release of Skyforge console version for Xbox.
- New game modes (Team Deathmatch 2.0 and King of the Hill) and Battle Rewards system in War Robots.
- Major Chernobyl update in Warface: special operation Pripyat, a new map, weapon series, etc.
- Mail.Ru Group announced its own eSports professional league with Warface being the first title used.
- Release of Disk-O, a service providing unified access to multiple cloud storages. Disk-O desktop app displays each cloud in a file manager as a virtual drive; users can open/edit files directly from the cloud without taking up local space.
- myTarget added support of the CPI (cost per thousand impression) model for VK, OK and media projects of Mail.Ru Group.
- myTarget became the first platform in Russia with SDK (software development kit) approved by Google AdMob and DoubleClick for Publishers.
- Mail.Ru Group announced the signing of the acquisition of 100% of ESforce, one of the largest eSports companies globally. The deal is expected to close in late Q1 2018.
- Mail.Ru Group brought together its B2B IaaS (Infrastructure as a service) products (Infra, Hotbox and Icebox) under new brand Mail.Ru Cloud Solutions.
Commenting on the results of the Company, Dmitry Grishin, Chairman of the Board, and Boris Dobrodeev, CEO (Russia) of Mail.Ru Group, said:
"We are pleased to report our results for the fourth quarter and the full year 2017. In Q4 we have continued to see strong growth in all areas and revenues, including all acquisitions on a pro forma basis, grew 32.6% Y-o-Y to RUR 17,564m. As we have stated previously, 2017 was a year of sizeable investment for us as we put significant resources behind a number of our new projects, especially our O2O initiatives. In 2017, these new projects did not contribute to EBITDA. Headline Q4 EBITDA therefore grew 29.7% Y-o-Y to RUR 6,445m. For the FY 2017, revenues have grown on a pro-forma basis 34.4% Y-o-Y to RUR 57,469m and EBITDA 14.7% Y-o-Y to RUR 20,551m.
Excluding the RUR 768m one-off non-cash tax charge in Q4 2016, to allow like-for-like comparison, EBITDA grew 12.3% and 10.0% Y-o-Y in Q4 and FY 2017 respectively.
Advertising revenue growth remained strong in Q4, with all the major trends we have seen over the last 2 years continuing, driven by growing user engagement, improved advertising technologies and sales execution. We continued to invest in our new businesses and allocate part of our inventory to promote these new products, which obviously had a limiting effect on inventory available for sale. Even taking this into account, our advertising revenue continued to grow ahead of the market. Advertising revenues in Q4 grew 29.4% Y-o-Y to RUR 7,679m and in FY 2017 grew 28.9% to RUR 23,766m.
As in previous periods, the fastest growing advertising revenues remained promo posts across the social networks. Our native in-feed video formats are getting increasingly adopted by both reach and performance oriented advertisers. In terms of overall customer budgets we continue to see advertising budgets shift to online from all other mediums and in online towards mobile and social networks in particular. Traditional offline brands are allocating growing parts of their media spend to mobile, especially to social. This trend accelerated in 2017 and we expect it to continue in 2018.
Mobile continues to be a key focus and the share of mobile advertising revenues inside the social networks rose from around one third in 2016 to a half in 2017. In 2017 we focused on the advertising product and technologies that drive efficiency, transparency and create value for our partners by improving ROI. We will continue these efforts in 2018.
As in 2017 the focus in 2018 will remain on mobile advertising. As previously commented we expect the ad load and pricing to continue to grow. We continue to see significant further opportunities for VK with both engagement and the improvement of the platform. We will also focus on the business eco-system and continue to develop features helping businesses and users to communicate and transact on the platform. There are already hundreds of thousands business groups on VK representing various large and small companies and private entrepreneurs, our goal is to help them grow their business while providing useful tools for our users.
We continue to promote our video platforms that now have over 1.1bn average daily views in total, and we are actively developing new formats such as live streaming where VK and OK have the leading live video platforms, VK Live and OK Live respectively, on the Russian market. We started to experiment with own content, bringing together major content producers, new media content creators, bloggers and brands. OK LIVE weekly talk show now has an audience of around 2m per episode on average. In Q4 VK streamed the world's only 24/7 live digital AI reality show which drew over 219 million views from 33 million users in total. VK has also developed and streamed its own music award that was made in mobile screencast format and accumulated more than 16m views.
In Q4 2017 on a pro forma basis our MMO games revenue grew 34.6% Y-o-Y to RUR 5,196m and for the full year grew 53.0% to RUR 17,422m. International revenues also continued to grow and in Q4 accounted for 55% of total MMO revenues. As was the case in the rest of the year, Q4 growth was driven by a broad base with ongoing success in both established and recently released titles. Warface and War Robots continue to perform well and are our two largest games. HAWK continued the good performance from Q3. Additionally the release of Hustle Castle has been well received and we have a full pipeline for 2018 on PC, mobile and console. Despite a high base effect and the VAT effect no longer applying to games we would expect that FY 2018 MMO games revenues will continue to show good performance with growth expected to be broadly in line with overall group revenue growth rates.
In Q4 2017 IVAS revenues grew 24.1% Y-o-Y and for the FY 2017 grew 17.6%. While the transition to mobile IVAS remains challenging, the new cross-platform IVAS initiatives specifically the subscription service and the VIP services on OK have made some progress. We will be further exploring new mobile products during 2018, including newly launched mobile-first IVAS products, such as music subscriptions and live-stream donations. For FY 2018 IVAS revenues are expected to be broadly flat Y-o-Y, as such IVAS revenues will continue to decline as a percentage of total revenues. Given the product release timings in 2018 we would also expect that IVAS revenues will be somewhat more H2 weighted than in previous years.
During Q4 Delivery Club continued to show very strong growth in all operating metrics. As expected, the ZakaZaka integration is now completed. In Q4 2017 the average monthly orders for the combined Delivery Club business grew 65% Y-o-Y on a pro-forma basis to 862,000 orders, and the number of restaurants reached 7,000. In December order numbers were around 1m. We continue to make a number of improvements to the product to make it both easier for the user to order, and easier for the restaurants to manage and process orders.. Based on the current trend lines we anticipate that Delivery Club FY 2018 revenues will continue to experience very strong growth. While we continue to invest in Delivery Club, we believe that we are past the peak investment phase and during Q4 we continued the process of marketing channel optimization. As previously stated, we continue to expect that Delivery Club will move into profitability during 2018.
Since its launch, just over 2 years ago, our location-based marketplace Youla has seen consistent and strong user growth. This has continued in Q4 2017 with a new high of 24m monthly active users and 5m daily active users on all platforms. The app remains consistently in the Top-10 Overall in Russia in the App Store and Google Play combined (according to App Annie). With the integration of Am.ru and the launch of our real estate offering on both desktop and mobile, we continue to expand the reach of Youla. As we said previously we considered that a user base above 20m would represent a strong base to start monetization. As such, during Q4 we started monetization experiments with promoted listings and then expanded this to advertising and other related payments. In December we announced that Youla had already reached a peak of RUR 2m daily revenue. We are pleased to announce that since then monetization has had further positive dynamics. During 2018 we plan to further increase monetization.
In December we commented on the initial results of our new cross border market place Pandao. Pandao had its full launch at the beginning of November and since then has made very significant progress and in Q4 Pandao had over 500,000 orders. To date we have had over 8.5m downloads and in February had 5.5m monthly active users. With 1.2m orders in January, and a peak daily order number of 370,000 in February we are very pleased with its initial progress. SKUs continue to see strong growth. The launch, and subsequent progress, has exceeded our expectations and we see that there is very strong demand from both suppliers and users. As such we see a very significant opportunity for Pandao and hence have increased, and brought forward, our investments into this area. We will therefore be putting significant resources behind Pandao through 2018 as we materially further expand marketing, content and distribution.
In January 2018 we announced the acquisition of ESforce, one of the largest eSports companies in the world. The strategic fit with both our social networks and our games is very clear. The underlying market continues to see very fast growth and ESforce is well positioned to benefit from this as it has exposure to all of the key verticals. As we said in the statement in January we will look to continue to aggressively expand the business and will look to exploit synergies with the wider network. As such we expect that ESforce 2018 revenues will grow between 80-100% and the losses seen in 2017 will halve with the business moving into profitability at the end of this year. The deal is expected to close in March, and as with previous acquisitions, and in order to give a like-for-like comparison, we will report all ESforce results going forward on a pro-forma basis.
In Q4, the cash generating capacity of our business remained unchanged and cash conversion was as expected. As a result net cash at the end of FY 2017 was RUR 15.4bn.
We are very pleased with the acquisitions we have made over the last 18 months and the progress they have made. All of them fit well with the core strategy and mobile assets of the Group and present significant opportunities for the future. The significant volume growth of the combined Delivery Club and ZakaZaka and its integration with Mail.ru's social properties as well as leveraging the companies gaming distribution in War Robots are good examples of the network effects we continue to look for. With a strong balance sheet and unchanged cash generating capabilities, we will continue to examine further similar-sized acquisition opportunities in the future.
Starting from the beginning of 2018, and along with all other companies using IFRS, we will be applying the new IFRS 15 standard. IFRS 15 introduces a different revenue recognition model that, as applies to the Company, results in a more conservative treatment of certain contracts where third-party agents are involved. In order to allow for like-for-like comparison we have also given FY 2017 results on both the previously used IAS 18 and new IFRS 15 standards. Given the more conservative treatment of IFRS 15 under this standard our FY 2017 revenue would have been RUR 55,768m; FY 2017 EBITDA would have been the same (in the amount of RUR 20,551m). For total clarity, we will be applying IFRS 15 to both the management accounts and the audited IFRS statements going forward, and forward looking guidance will be given on this basis.
2017 was a very strong year for Mail.Ru Group with total revenues growing by more than a third. Advertising revenues continued to benefit from the shifts in ad budgets towards online, and in online budgets towards social networks. The games division executed well, and continues its expansion internationally and across new platforms. Delivery Club continues to show good growth, and Youla initial monetization was ahead of our expectations. Pandao has grown very rapidly from its launch in November and presents us with a significant future opportunity. While IVAS still has challenges with the mobile transition, 2017 saw some stabilization, and we continue to expect IVAS to progressively become a smaller part of revenues. Taking all this into account, we continue to believe we remain well positioned overall.
2018 has started well and based on current visibility, and as previously discussed, using the new more conservative IFRS 15 standard, we are pleased to give initial FY 2018 pro-forma Y-o-Y revenue growth guidance of 23-28% to between RUR 68.6-71.4bn. This does not include any contribution from ESforce given that the transaction has not yet closed. With Youla and Pandao monetisation increasing through the year and the H2 weighting of IVAS we would expect the total revenue growth will also be somewhat more H2 weighted than in previous years.
Inside the core social network business, the underlying margins are expected to be broadly flat in 2018. However, we have been very encouraged by the initial progress of Pandao and as such are materially increasing, and bringing forward, our investment in this business. We are looking to invest at least an additional RUR 3bn in this area in 2018. Taking this investment into account, we expect FY 2018 EBITDA to be between RUR 21 to 22bn."
The management team will host an analyst and investor conference call at 9.00 UK time (12.00 Moscow time), on Thursday 1st March 2018, including a Question and Answer session.
To participate in this conference call, please use the following access details:
Confirmation Code: 6755935 Participant Toll Free Telephone Numbers: From Russia +7 495 213 1767 From the UK +44 (0)330 336 9105 From the US +1 323 794 2551
SOURCE Mail.Ru Group Limited