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Gree Inc
TSE:3632

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Gree Inc
TSE:3632
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Price: 488 JPY Market Closed
Updated: Feb 24, 2024

Earnings Call Analysis

Q1-2024 Analysis
Gree Inc

GREE's Q1 2024 Earnings and Projections

In FY 2024 Q1, GREE, Inc. recorded net sales of JPY 15.8 billion and operating income of JPY 1.2 billion. The Metaverse and Game and Anime segments bolstered earnings, while the Investment business experienced a loss. Operating income is expected to dip to about JPY 0.5 billion in Q2, and the annual forecast for FY 2024 predicts an operating income between JPY 4 billion and JPY 5 billion.

Second Quarter and Full Year FY 2024 Operating Income Forecast

The company provided insight into its earnings estimates and forecasts, indicating weaker results in the Game and Anime business in the second quarter of FY 2024 compared to the first quarter. Nonetheless, the overall company-wide operating income is projected at approximately JPY 0.5 billion for the second quarter. For the full year FY 2024, the company is maintaining its initial forecast and expects operating income to be in the range of JPY 4 billion to JPY 5 billion.

Progress and Business Segment Performance

The company noted that progress in the Game and Anime business surpassed 25% due to strong performance, with particular successes coming from collaboration events and anniversary celebrations for certain titles. The Metaverse business also witnessed a rise in sales, especially within the Platform business, while keeping an eye on maintaining profitability through cost structure optimizations. Operational changes included terminating support for the game SINoALICE, which was factored into first quarter results. Additionally, the Commerce business is exhibiting a positive trend with rising sales and operating income, driven by the growth of aumo's SaaS offerings and restructuring of LIMIA, Inc..

Metaverse Business Dynamics

The Metaverse business has experienced a sharp increase in sales thanks to the Platform business. The REALITY platform, behind these numbers, celebrated its fifth anniversary with strong avatar sales. However, there were challenges in the B2B Metaverse business with the conclusion of large-scale service projects, though there is an ongoing effort to mitigate losses through significant cost-cutting initiatives. The VTuber business under REALITY Studios, Inc. continues to incur operating losses despite strategic investments aimed at growth but is progressing as per the company's original business plan.

Medium-Term Objectives and Investment Business Evaluation

With conservative forecasts for sales of new titles and realistic medium-term cost estimates, the company has set medium-term targets in anticipation of volatile results. The investment business saw a lower income with no substantial distributions in the first quarter of FY 2024. However, an overview of assets under management revealed a net increase leading to a robust investment portfolio, including new investments in funds and start-ups, valuating the operational investment securities at around JPY 33.2 billion. The company appears satisfied with its investment portfolio and expects distributions in the near future.

Commerce Business Trends and Forecasts

In commerce, the company is reporting a rising trend in sales and has secured positive operating income, with aumo's operating margin surpassing 7%. The second quarter FY 2024 earnings estimates project continued growth in the commerce business, expecting sales of JPY 0.35 billion and operating income of JPY 0.01 billion, primarily driven by aumo. For the full year FY 2024, the forecast is sales of JPY 1.5 billion and operating income of JPY 0.1 billion. Looking at the medium-term, the company aims to leverage growth in aumo to support investments in other businesses, such as jobda, with an FY 2026 sales target of JPY 3.3 billion.

Earnings Call Transcript

Earnings Call Transcript
2024-Q1

from 0
T
Toshiki Oya
executive

Thank you for joining the FY 2024 First Quarter Financial Results Briefing of GREE, Inc. I am Toshiki Oya.

Looking at the executive summary on Page 2, we see net sales of JPY 15.8 billion, operating income of JPY 1.2 billion and EBITDA of JPY 1.3 billion. During the first quarter, the Metaverse business remained strong, and results were basically in line with our forecast. We will provide detailed information regarding each business later, but I'd first like to provide a quick summary.

In the Game and Anime business, earnings were strong, owing to the success of the 1.5-year anniversary event for Heaven Burns Red. In the Metaverse business, the REALITY Platform business provided a strong earnings boost. In the DX business, the Commerce business progressed in line with our expectations. In the Investment business, we posted an operating loss of JPY 0.2 billion as there were no large distributions received.

On Page 5, we provide an overview of financial results. We will provide explanations regarding net sales and operating income later. Also, there were no significant movements in terms of ordinary income and net income.

Page 6 shows trends in net sales and operating income. In the third quarter and the fourth quarter of FY 2023, we received large distributions in the investment business, but this was not the case in the first quarter of FY 2024. Company-wide sales and income, therefore, declined Q-on-Q due to this reactive decline.

On Page 7, we have an analysis of sales and operating income by segment. We will provide an explanation of this later.

On Page 8, we present an analysis of operating income in the first quarter. The main factor behind the decline in sales was the aforementioned reactive decline in the investment business and quarterly operating income was JPY 1.2 billion.

On Page 9, we break down our cost structure for the first quarter. Variable costs declined Q-on-Q on the winding down of promotions for Heaven Burns Red. Commission and fee costs declined on a decline in sales. Looking at fixed costs, labor costs increased on allocation of human resources to growth businesses, including hiring to expand reality operations in North America and increased hiring in the VTuber business. However, we have narrowed our focus. And although fixed costs rose Q-on-Q, we do not expect them to continue rising at this pace.

Page 11 shows our earnings estimates and forecasts. We expect results in the Game and Anime business to be weaker in the second quarter of FY 2024 than in the first quarter. Excluding the investment business, we forecast company-wide operating income of roughly JPY 0.5 billion in the second quarter. Our full year FY 2024 forecast remains unchanged from our initial forecast. Excluding contribution from new titles in the investment business, we forecast FY 2024 operating income of roughly JPY 4 billion to JPY 5 billion.

Moving on to Page 12. Here, we show progress toward our full year forecast. Progress in the Game and Anime business surpassed 25% due to strong performance in this business. And in the Metaverse business, the platform business contributed to income. The DX business and the commerce business trended in line with expectations.

Now let's hear from the heads of each of our businesses. Yuta Maeda will cover the Game and Anime business.

Y
Yuta Maeda
executive

First, Page 14 shows an overview of the Game and Anime business as a whole. In the first quarter, the Game and Anime business posted sales of JPY 11.72 billion and operating income of JPY 1.56 billion. Focus points include the very well-received 1.5-year anniversary event for Heaven Burns Red. While there was a negative Q-on-Q impact from many of our titles marking anniversaries in the fourth quarter of FY 2023, collaboration events for That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime were successful and other titles performed very well.

Next, I would like to talk about our subsidiaries. First, on Page 15, we have WFS, Inc. As I mentioned before, the 1.5-year anniversary event for Heaven Burns Red was very well received. Next is Pokelabo, Inc. The company saw a reactive decline from anniversary events in the fourth quarter of FY 2023 and development costs rose sharply as development work on major titles peaked. Also, as just announced last week, we will be terminating support for SINoALICE, and we have announced a tremendous story ending for this title. We began to see the impact from the termination of support for SINoALICE in the first quarter results.

Now let's turn to GREE Entertainment, Inc. The first quarter earnings were firm owing to very strong performance in licensing and outsourced development projects. In the first quarter, there were no extraordinary factors like the write-downs posted on some titles in the fourth quarter of FY 2023.

Page 18 shows our pipeline. As we explained in our fourth quarter FY 2023 results presentation, we are diversifying our pipeline. We are making steady progress in this area, and we feel that we have built a good solid pipeline.

On Page 19, we provide our second quarter of FY 2024 earnings forecast. To be frank, we do not have many major focus points for the second quarter, but we continue to hold second anniversary events for That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime. Based on these factors, our forecast is as shown.

Page 20 shows our full year earnings forecast. We are making smooth progress in terms of sales and income, and we expect to reach our initial forecasts.

On Page 21, we present our medium-term targets. As we explained previously, our forecast for sales of new titles, which can be highly volatile, are very conservative. However, we view our medium-term cost estimates as realistic. Thank you for your kind attention.

T
Toshiki Oya
executive

Next, Eiji Araki will explain the Metaverse business.

荒木 英士
executive

First, Page 23 shows an overview of the Metaverse business as a whole. Sales rose sharply in the first quarter, especially in the Platform business. Also, although we continued to invest aggressively in the VTuber business, we were able to offset this and post positive income by revamping our cost structure and selling high-margin services.

Starting on Page 24, we show results at our subsidiaries. First is our Platform business, which handles our REALITY platform. We conducted a number of successful campaigns to mark the fifth anniversary of the release of REALITY in August. Avatar sales were also especially strong in the first quarter. While Avatars have always been a high-margin product, we further improved gross margin and cut costs, resulting in growth in overall operating income.

Page 25 covers REALITY XR cloud Inc., which handles our B2B Metaverse business. Earnings in this business deteriorated as service work on large-scale projects with timeframes of 1 to 2 years came to an end, and we were unable to offset this with new projects. In the second quarter, we have been implementing major cost-cutting initiatives, and we are working toward a return to profitability.

Page 26 shows REALITY Studios, Inc., which handles our VTuber business. Starting in the third quarter of FY 2023, we shifted our strategy and began aggressively investing and focusing on growth businesses. In line with this new strategic plan, we steadily conducted investments in the third quarter to fourth quarter of FY 2023 and in the first quarter of FY 2024 and were able to increase sales. While REALITY Studios is still posting operating losses, costs and losses are within the range expected in our original business plan, and we are making strong progress.

On Page 27, we provide our second quarter FY 2024 earnings estimates. We expect sales to decline slightly following the impact of the REALITY anniversary campaigns mentioned earlier, and we plan to increase investment in the VTuber business. We, therefore, expect to post a loss of JPY 0.16 billion in the Metaverse business.

Page 28 shows our full year earnings forecast. Based on progress made in the first quarter and our second quarter estimates, we forecast full year FY 2024 sales of JPY 8.2 billion, and we expect to roughly break even at the operating level. Thank you for your attention.

T
Toshiki Oya
executive

Next, Kazuhisa Adachi explains the DX business.

足立 和久
executive

Page 31 shows overall sales and operating income trends in the DX business. While we have been building up overall sales, operating income has been trending sideways.

On Page 32, we have the Marketing DX business where we have been steadily accumulating projects.

Page 33 shows the Operational DX business. Here, existing projects are shrinking, and we are making preparations for new services projects such as quality control and digital risk management solutions. Costs are increasing as we invest in new hiring aimed at creating systems to serve external customers.

On Page 34, we provide our second quarter FY 2024 earnings estimates. We plan to continue accumulating projects in the Marketing DX business while investing in preparation for new services in the Operational DX business.

Page 35 shows our full year FY 2024 forecast. We expect earnings to trend in line with our initial earnings forecast.

On Slide 36, we present our medium-term targets. In both the Marketing DX business and the Operational DX business, we continue to aim for discontinuous growth over the medium term while maintaining a growth rate above the industry average. That's all from the DX business.

T
Toshiki Oya
executive

Next, Yosuke Nakamura will explain the Commerce business.

中村 陽祐
executive

Page 38 shows overall sales and operating income trends in the Commerce business. Overall, we see a rising trend, and we have achieved positive operating income. One of the main factors behind this is continuous growth in the SaaS business of aumo, the core company in the Commerce business. Also, we have completed restructuring of LIMIA, Inc., which we began in FY 2023. This has resulted in an uptrend in sales and achievement of positive income.

Page 39 covers aumo, Inc. aumo's operating margin has risen to just over 7%, owing to steady expansion of its customer base and rising unit prices in its SaaS business.

On Page 40, we provide our second quarter FY 2024 earnings estimates for the Commerce business. We expect the growth trend seen in the first quarter to continue in the second quarter, mainly from growth at aumo. Also jobda, Inc., which invests in the HR field, launched a job search engine service in October. And while we plan to conduct a balanced investment in jobda, we expect sales of JPY 0.35 billion and operating income of JPY 0.01 billion in the second quarter.

Page 41 shows our full year FY 2024 forecast. We expect growth in line with our second quarter FY 2024 forecast, especially from aumo's SaaS business and plan to conduct balanced investment in jobda. We forecast sales of JPY 1.5 billion and operating income of JPY 0.1 billion in FY 2024.

On Page 42, we present our medium-term targets. In the run-up to FY 2026, we intend to leverage growth in the aumo business as a base from which to conduct investment in jobda. Based on the balance between these 2 businesses, we expect FY 2026 sales of JPY 3.3 billion. Thank you for your attention.

Finally, Toshiki Oya explains the investment business.

T
Toshiki Oya
executive

Page 44 shows sales and operating income trends. As we received no large-scale distributions in the first quarter of FY 2024, income was much lower than in the third quarter and the fourth quarter of FY 2023, and we posted a loss. However, we continue to conduct investment at a stable pace. And as we will see in another slide, we see no problems in terms of our investment portfolio.

Page 45 shows an overview of assets under management due to a net increase of JPY 2.0 billion, AUM rose to JPY 82.7 billion.

On Page 46, we provide a breakdown of our operational investment securities. We conducted dozens of new investments in funds and start-ups. Our portfolio has steadily grown and is now valued at around JPY 33.2 billion, including growth in unrealized gains.

On Page 47, we show the status of our investment results. Our portfolio is broken down by investment phase and investments in the exit phase are valued at approximately JPY 13.0 billion. As we expect distributions from these investments in the near future, we are satisfied with the content of our investment portfolio.

Thank you for your attention.

[Statements in English on this transcript were spoken by an interpreter present on the live call.]