Warhammer game
Games Workshop reports surprising slowdown / Image source: Adobe
  • Shares fall on unexpected Q2 slowdown
  • First half core operating profit up 16%
  • First half dividends up 18%

Fantasy miniatures maker Games Workshop (GAW) provided a customarily brief half-year trading update with management estimating core interim revenue of at least £235 million and operating profit of at least £82 million.

That implies year on year growth in revenue to 26 November of just over 10% and 16% growth in core operating profit which excludes ‘lumpy’ licensing revenue.

Licensing revenue is expected to be around £12 million compared with £14.3 million in the same period last year, with licensing profit falling to around £11 million from £12.9 million.

Group pre-tax profit is expected to be not less than £94 million equating to year-on-year growth of 12.4%.

Management said trading since its last update in September was in line with expectations.

WHY ARE THE SHARES DOWN?

The shares fell as much as 15% in early trading before stabilising around 7% lower at £97.40, reducing gains for the year to 11%.

The fall reflects disappointment in the implied slowdown from the first quarter when revenues grew around 14% year on year and pre-tax profit grew 46%.

Analysts Andrew Wade and Grace Gilberg at Jefferies estimate second-quarter core operating profit fell by around 8%.

‘We are surprised by the extent of the slowdown in Q2, even if we had anticipated a step back given the fading Leviathan benefit (10th edition of Warhammer 40k) and tougher comps.

‘We suspect this largely reflects a pull-forward of demand into the extremely successful 40k 10th Edition launch earlier in the year, and would view the first half run-rate as a sensible read on the overall trajectory.

‘However, with upgrades widely anticipated, we suspect today's update will disappoint some investors.

Consensus earnings estimates for 2023 have been revised up by around 10% since the start of the year, while 2024 earnings have been revised upwards by around 13% according to LSEG data.

Dividends paid and declared in the half were 195p per share (£64.2 million), representing 18% growth on the prior year.

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Issue Date: 07 Dec 2023