February 11, 2020 / 1:53 PM / 5 days ago

Finland's Supercell reports sales up 2% while core earnings slip

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finland’s biggest game maker Supercell reported on Tuesday its full-year 2019 sales rose 2% to 1.39 billion euros ($1.52 billion) although core earnings slipped 4%.

Finnish mobile game development company Supercell's founder and CEO Ilkka Paananen attends a news conference in Helsinki, Finland February 11, 2020. Seppo Samuli/Lehtikuva/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. FINLAND OUT.

China’s Tencent Holdings (0700.HK) increased its stake in a consortium that controls Supercell to 51.2% from 50% in October. The consortium owns 88.1% of the game maker.

Supercell reported its earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) in 2019 were down 4% at 517 million euros, the company said.

The 10-year-old firm gave no more financial figures but Chief Executive Ilkka Paananen said its top-performing game Clash of Clans, released in 2012, was among the world’s 10 top-grossing games.

“Short-term goals don’t mean anything to us,” Paananen said. “On a monthly basis, a couple hundred million people play our games actively.”

He said Tencent President Martin Lau was patient as an owner, saying his idea of long-term was “a decade or several decades.”

Research firm App Annie said in December that Supercell’s Clash of Clans was the past decade’s world top game in all-time consumer spend, beating Japanese Mixi’s Monster Strike and U.S. based Activision Blizzard’s Candy Crush Saga.

Supercell’s fifth and newest game, Brawl Stars, is about to join their four previous games in booking total sales worth more than 1 billion euros, the company said.

Paananen said Brawl Stars had become “a huge success”, particularly in South Korea after its release in 2018.

“At some point we calculated that one tenth of the country’s population was playing Brawl Stars actively,” he said of the 51-million nation.

Reporting by Anne Kauranen; Editing by Edmund Blair

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