There’s something magical in the water, or the snow, in Finland. Helsinki-based Supercell announced some astounding financial results for 2015 based on revenues from its three hit mobile games: Clash of Clans, Boom Beach, and Hay Day.
The company made profits (before certain items) of €848 million, or $964 million, on revenues of €2.109 billion, or $2.326 billion. That compares to earnings before income tax, depreciation, and amortization of €515 million, or $592 million, in 2014, on revenues of €1.545 billion, or $1.777 billion.
Clash of Clans, which debuted in August, 2012, accounted for the bulk of that revenue, though Supercell didn’t say how much. The game was ranked at either No. 1 or No. 2 during the course of 2015 on the top-grossing list. It’s not official, but it’s pretty clear that Clash of Clans is the most successful app in the world.
The company also paid a dividend of €14 ($15.50) per share, resulting in a total dividend payout of €603 million, or $669 million. Supercell also initiated a share buyback scheme from its employees amounting to €114 million, or $128 million, in the past year.
That’s an incredible financial result for a company with just 180 employees. And 2016 is off to a good start, as Supercell’s Clash Royale has take the No. 1 spots in top downloads and top-grossing games in the U.S. Apple app store. The game is No. 1 in 44 countries right now. Supercell just announced that it has more than 100 million daily active users in almost every country.
Supercell has had unprecedented success in keeping its three games in the top 40 (and two in the top 10) for several years.
Ilkka Paananen, Supercell’s CEO, said in a statement, “These financial results are of course great and we are very proud of them. However, the real highlight for us is how we’ve been able to get here while staying true to our founding vision that was all about people.”
He added, “We believed that if we bring together the best people, create the best possible environment for them, then with enough time and some luck, some great games will follow. Games that millions of people around the world will want to play for years and years.”
And he said, “Despite the financial success, we have been able to keep the company relatively small. Today we are 180 people where most people know each other by name and where people work in small and independent teams, in a zero bureaucracy environment.”
I’ve visited Supercell’s headquarters (housed in an old Nokia high-rise) in Helsinki, and it is a very small, cozy, and collaborative environment. The entire Clash of Clans team operates in a small section, and there are board games everywhere along the shelves by the kitchen.
Supercell said that it killed 14 games so far, before it was able to successfully launch its fourth game, Clash Royale, last Thursday.
Given the results, it’s no wonder Supercell is so valuable. Last June, Japan’s SoftBank bought an additional 22 percent stake in Supercell (bringing its ownership to 73 percent) at a valuation of $5.5 billion.
Based on Finnish law, Supercell reports its earnings once a year. The company once received a 400,000 euro loan from the Finnish government. The company has paid back that amount many, many times over in taxes.