Amaya Inc. (TSX:AYA)(NASDAQ:AYA) is not your typical software company. Amaya is focused on the gaming and interactive entertainment industry; it offers a multitude of online gambling games, such as the wildly popular PokerStars.
Amaya recently provided a quarterly update that exceeded expectations. Here’s a look at those results and what this means for the company moving forward.
In the most recent quarter Amaya managed to beat expected profit and revenue targets that analysts’ had set, thanks in part to the company’s growing customer base.
Earnings from continuing operations for the quarter came in at US$22.49 million, or US$0.12 per share, representing a significant increase from the US$6.38 million, or $0.03 per share, the company posted for the same quarter last year.
In terms of total revenues, Amaya posted US$285.9 million for the quarter, which was also far beyond the estimated US$272.9 million that analysts were calling for. Earnings per share came in at US$0.46 per share, beating estimates of US$0.35 per share for the quarter.
While the company cited a growing customer base as part of the reason for the growth, Amaya also noted that expenses were cut in a number of office locations, including Dublin, London, and Sydney; further cuts are likely to follow this year.
As per the end of the quarter Amaya had amassed 103.5 million customer registrations.
Amaya’s leadership issues are over for now
Amaya’s quarterly update put some much-needed focus on the company’s results, rather than who was sitting at the head of the company. Amaya has been at the forefront of a number of controversial issues; none of which have had a direct impact on the company, but have weighed the stock down at times.
Former CEO David Baazov was removed from his post and put on an indefinite paid leave of absence earlier this year following charges of insider trading by Quebec’s securities regulator. The charges against Baazov stemmed from an investigation dating back to 2014 with respect to trading of Amaya’s stock in the period leading up to the US$4.9 billion takeover of Rational Group’s PokerStars.
Baazov finally stepped down from his post this week and, as a result, Amaya announced that interim CEO Rafi Ashkenazi will replace Baazov, who will also not stand for re-election to Amaya’s board. Divyesh Gadhia, who was promoted to interim chairman of the board when Baazov went on leave, has been made a permanent addition to the board.
Amaya is a great investment
Amaya is in an interesting position as it offers a product that has a massive following with lucrative potential in a largely untapped market.
The online gambling products that Amaya offers require regulatory approval to operate in most markets. Amaya has been granted approval to operate in some markets and is still waiting to get the necessary approvals to operate in others. Earlier this year the company was granted approval to operate in New Jersey, which resulted in a boost to revenue and the taking a significant portion of the online market in that state.
The company was also granted the requisite approvals offer online gaming and betting games to customers in Italy, Spain, France, and the U.K. this past summer; many of those players have crossed over in a natural transition from sports betting to online gambling.
Amaya currently trades at $20.55, up nearly 18% year-to-date and, in my opinion, remains a great investment opportunity for growth-seeking investors.