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Sweden's MTG raises profit forecast sending shares up 12%

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - E-sports and gaming group MTG MTGb.ST on Wednesday reported a rise in third-quarter core earnings and raised its profit forecast, sending its shares up sharply.

MTG said that its e-sports business, which represents around 40% of revenues, had partly made up for the loss of live audience events through cost savings and improved efficiency.

MTG’s shares were 11.9% higher at 1403 GMT. They were already 4.4% higher ahead of the results and are up more than 100% since lows in mid-March.

The group said its e-sports revenue would decline by between 27 and 32% in the second half of 2020 on a yearly basis due to the coronavirus pandemic. It had previously forecast a 30-40% decline.

MTG said its gaming business had delivered all-time high results. For the group as a whole, MTG expects adjusted EBITDA for the second half of 2020 at between 375 million and 400 million crowns, versus a previous forecast of 250-300 million.

“The improvement is on the back of continued strong

user engagement and successful in-game events in the gaming vertical where we continue to see a stronger momentum also post lock-down,” it said in a statement.

MTG’s third-quarter adjusted operating profit (EBITDA) rose to 196 million Swedish crowns (17.1 million pounds) from 31 million a year ago.

It said in September that it was merging its two e-sports companies, ESL and DreamHack, to bolster competitiveness of the two businesses in a market where the pandemic has put a damper on booming growth.

Reporting by Helena Soderpalm, editing by Johan Ahlander and Jane Merriman

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