Video gaming industry technical services provider Keywords Studios (KWS:AIM) has announced that chief executive Andrew Day is taking early retirement with immediate effect, following a temporary leave of absence for health reasons. The shares dipped 0.4% to £24.94 on the news.

The board is initiating a search to appoint a high calibre successor while Day will be available in an advisory capacity for six months and Jon Hauck and Sonia Sedler continue as joint interim chiefs.

HARD ACT TO FOLLOW

Andrew Day has been instrumental in driving Keywords to the company it is today, having taken the helm in 2009 when Keywords was private and then listing the company on AIM in 2013 with a market capitalisation of around £50 million.

Numis analyst Will Wallis said, ‘the decision by Andrew Day to retire is a significant moment, given the scale of success that the group has had under his leadership.’

Wallis notes the company has grown its revenues over 100 times and the shares have delivered a compound average growth rate of 45% a year, up roughly 20 times, under Day’s leadership.

Looking forward Wallis believes the company has built the operational structures to continue its growth path with acquisitions playing a ‘significant role in value creation for the group’.

STRONG TRADING

The company said it has made a ‘strong start’ to the year with revenues growing 36% in the first four months, representing organic growth of 25% excluding currency movements.

Strong revenue growth has led to good margin delivery while the firm also noted a ‘healthy pipeline’ of acquisitions. Despite tough comparisons expected to have a ‘moderating’ impact on second half growth the board expects to meet market expectations for the full year to 31 December 2021.

Consensus expectations are for revenues to grow 27.5% to €477 million and net profit to jump 150% to €53.8 million according to Refinitiv data.

READ MORE ABOUT KEYWORDS STUDIOS HERE

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Issue Date: 15 Jun 2021