Sweden's MTG core profit rises, CEO to leave

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - E-sports and gaming firm MTG MTGb.ST reported a bigger than expected jump in quarterly core earnings on Thursday despite a hit to its e-sports business from the coronavirus pandemic, but its shares fell on news its long-time CEO was stepping down.

The Swedish company also said chairman David Chance had announced his intention to stand down at the annual shareholders’ meeting in 2021.

MTG shares, which were up ahead of the news, were down 1% by 1250 GMT.

The company said in a statement the board had “reluctantly accepted” CEO Jorgen Madsen Lindemann’s resignation.

“After 26 years of service, he has decided to step down to free up time to pursue other challenges and for the company to facilitate its long-term CEO succession planning,” it said.

MTG said in its second-quarter report that its e-sports business had performed better than anticipated, while the gaming business had its best quarterly result ever.

The firm expects an adjusted operating profit of 250-300 million Swedish crowns ($28-$34 million) in the second half of the year, supported by a strong performance in gaming and savings in its e-sports firms ESL and DreamHack.

Its second-quarter adjusted operating profit (EBITDA) rose to 167 million crowns from 88 million a year earlier, while revenues were unchanged at 1.1 billion crowns.

MTG said earlier on Thursday that ESL and DreamHack had entered a partnership agreement with live streaming platform Huya HUYA.N, as it seeks to expand in the booming Chinese e-sports market.

Reporting by Helena Soderpalm; editing by Johannes Hellstrom and Mark Potter