Look for revenue growth to pick up for Axion Ventures (Axion Ventures Stock Quote, Chart,News TSXV:AXV), says PI Financial analyst David Kwan, who updated clients on the video game company’s latest quarterly earnings on Tuesday.
Kwan is remaining bullish on AXV, maintaining his “Buy” rating and C$0.75 target price, which at press time represented a projected 12-month return of 92.3 per cent.
Vancouver-based Axion has majority ownership in Axion Games, an online video game development publishing company with headquarters in Shanghai, China, along with Bangkok-based video development company True Axion.
Axion announced interim financial statements on November 29 for its third quarter ended September 30, 2019, showing revenue of $1.1 million, down ten per cent both year-over-year and sequentially and an adjusted EBITDA loss of $1.8 million. The company ended the quarter with net debt of $13.9 million, up from $10.3 million at the end of its second quarter.
Kwan says that AXV’s top line was below his $1.4-million estimate, primarily attributed to softer licensing and game operation revenue, while the adjusted EBITDA loss came in ahead of Kwan’s negative $2.1-million forecast.
The analyst says that Axion Games’s Rising Fire and Invictus are still being fine-tuned ahead of their commercial launches expected in the very near term.
“Outsourcing revenues are expected to significantly increase in the coming quarters, driven by the two co-development deals announced in recent months. As well, revenues could be bolstered as early as this quarter by increased game operation revenue and potential licensing deals for Invictus and MARS,” Kwan writes.
“More importantly, its flagship game Rising Fire could finally see a commercial launch in Q1 (or Q2) of next year, which should drive a sharp uptick in (high margin) revenue, including licensing deals in other regions as well as on other platforms, most notably mobile,” he says.
Kwan thinks that Axion will have to take on additional significant loans, either from management and/or the board or other supportive shareholders, in order to fund operations, that’s if management decides to forego issuing new equity at the currently depressed levels — AXV is now down 143 per cent year-to-date — with management having indicated that they and other key shareholders are willing and able to fund
operations until revenues begin to ramp.
The analyst calls the impact of the quarterly results “Neutral” but has lowered his fiscal 2019 revenue to $4.7 million (previously $5.7 million) and adjusted EBITDA of negative $8.5 million (unchanged). For fiscal 2020, he is expecting revenue of $41.3 million (unchanged) and adjusted EBITDA of $17.5 million (was $18.3 million). (All figures in US dollars unless where indicated otherwise.)
In October, Axion announced that it has entered into late-stage negotiations with a leading Asian publisher to co-develop a new mobile shooting game, with management saying that the discussions will likely result in material upfront payments.
“As we seek to expand and diversify our portfolio, Axion is benefitting from the leverage of unique co-development opportunities with large industry players versus outsourcing or the current IP licensing model,” said CEO Todd Bonner in an October 17 press release.
“While Axion is working closely with Tencent on commercially launching Rising Fire PC in the near term, global co-development deals also allow closer engagement with a broader spectrum of industry leaders capable of worldwide distribution beyond just China. This will allow Axion to expand and continue to monetize its portfolio without requiring major capital outlays, further generating value for our stakeholders by continuing on a defined path towards reaching an EBITDA positive milestone in the near
future,” he said.
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