TIDMKWS

RNS Number : 8651B

Keywords Studios PLC

15 June 2021

15 June 2021

Keywords Studios plc ("Keywords Studios", "Keywords", "the Group")

Board Changes - Update regarding Andrew Day

Keywords announced on 15 March 2021 that Andrew Day, CEO, would be taking a temporary leave of absence from the business for health reasons. Following this health scare, Andrew has now taken the decision to bring forward a longer term retirement plan and will therefore be leaving his role as CEO and his position as a director of the Board with immediate effect.

The Board fully respects his wishes and, accordingly, is initiating a full search process to appoint a high calibre successor with the requisite experience and expertise to lead a fast growing and ambitious global group. Andrew will be available to the Board for an initial period of six months in an advisory capacity to support a smooth transition.

Keywords has a strong team in place with Jon Hauck and Sonia Sedler continuing as joint interim CEOs. Having been heavily involved in driving the Group's strategic development since he joined, Jon provides clear continuity for the Group's acquisition strategy, while Sonia has already taken responsibility for the operational performance of the business and driving organic growth. Jon and Sonia continue to be well supported by the Group's exceptional service line and regional leadership team, alongside the dedicated M&A team and the Board.

Trading Update

The Group has made a very good start to the year following the momentum seen in the second half of 2020, with total revenue growth of 36% for the first four months, representing 25% growth on an organic basis which excludes the impacts of currency movements and acquisitions. This strong revenue growth, despite some continued operational constraints from COVID-19, has also supported good margin delivery. Following the acquisitions of Tantalus Media and Climax Studios earlier in the year the group continues to review a healthy pipeline of acquisitions. This trading momentum is expected to continue, albeit with growth rates moderating against stronger H2 2020 comparatives, and the Board fully expects that the Group will deliver against market expectations for the full year. As in previous years, a further update on trading for the half year ending 30 June 2021 will be provided in early August 2021.

Ross Graham, Chairman of Keywords Studios, commented:

"Whilst we are sad to see Andrew go, we fully support his decision to bring his retirement plans forward and wish him a very happy retirement.

"Over the twelve years since taking over the reins from the founders in 2009, Andrew has led the building of Keywords into the 'go to' global video games services platform it is today and it is a tribute to his leadership that he leaves the Group in great shape with a strong and broad leadership team that is well equipped to both drive the Company's strategy forward and enhance its operational performance. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank him for his incredible commitment and contribution to the Group over the last twelve years.

"Under Jon's and Sonia's direction, the Group has continued to perform strongly whilst also continuing to add scale and reach through the recent acquisitions of the high quality businesses, Tantalus Media and Climax Studios.

"The Group is well placed, with a leading position in the buoyant video games market and a strong balance sheet, to continue to build upon its strong platform both organically and through selective acquisitions from a healthy pipeline of opportunities."

Andrew Day commented:

"I am deeply proud of the business that we have built together, which over my twelve years as CEO has grown from a privately held company with a single localisation and testing studio in Dublin employing 50 people, to a publicly traded global technical and creative services group with over 9,000 people in 69 studios in 22 countries working passionately with our video games publisher and developer clients to create, adapt and support so many of the world's leading games.

" It has been a huge honour to lead the wonderful Keywordians around the world. Whilst my recent health scare has brought about a reassessment of my priorities and brought forward a retirement that I was otherwise looking forward to in the coming few years, I am pleased to be leaving the Group in such a strong position to continue to deliver on its proven strategy. This strategy continues to deliver excellent momentum in organic growth and acquisition execution, thanks to having an extremely capable leadership team in place and a rock solid foundation of dedicated Keywordians around the world, with unrivalled breadth and depth of talent, who are passionate about every project entrusted to them.

"I am confident that the Group will continue its march of delivering high quality growth both organically and from acquisitions of the type that has taken us from IPO in 2013 with a market capitalisation GBP50m to c. GBP2bn today."

For further information, please contact:

 
  Keywords Studios (www.keywordsstudios.com)         +353 190 22 730 
   Joseph Quinn, Investor Relations              Mobile: +353 86 777 
                                                                8974 
 
   Numis Securities 
   Stuart Skinner/Kevin Cruickshank/Will 
   Baunton                                          +44 20 7260 1000 
 
   MHP Communications (Financial PR)                +44 20 3128 8193 
   Katie Hunt/James Midmer/Charles                 keywords@mhpc.com 
   Hirst 
 

This Announcement contains inside information for the purposes of the market abuse regulation (EU No . 596/2014) as it forms part of United Kingdom domestic law by virtue of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 ("UK MAR").

About Keywords Studios ( www.keywordsstudios.com )

Keywords Studios is an international technical services provider to the global video games industry. Established in 1998, and now with over 65 facilities in 22 countries strategically located in Asia, the Americas and Europe, it provides integrated art creation, marketing services, software engineering, testing, localization, audio and customer care services across more than 50 languages and 16 games platforms to a blue-chip client base of over 950 clients across the globe.

Keywords Studios has a strong market position, providing services to 23 of the top 25 most prominent games companies, including Activision Blizzard, Bandai Namco, Bethesda, Electronic Arts, Konami, Microsoft, Riot Games, Square Enix, Supercell, TakeTwo, Epic Games and Ubisoft. Recent titles worked on include Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Anthem, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Valorant, League of Legends, Fortnite, Clash Royale and Doom Eternal. Keywords Studios is listed on AIM, the London Stock Exchange regulated market (KWS.L).

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June 15, 2021 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT)

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