The partnership between Australian slot machine manufacturer Ainsworth Game Technology and European gaming powerhouse Novomatic is continuing to pick up steam, with behind-the-scenes cooperation already starting to show results across Asia, according to Ainsworth CEO Danny Gladstone.
It was on the eve of ICE London 12 months ago that Novomatic finalized its acquisition of a 52% stake in the Australian-based company with the goal of expanding its reach into the lucrative Asian market while expanding Ainsworth’s own footprint. Exactly where the acquisition will take them remains to be seen, but Gladstone told Inside Asian Gaming at ICE this week that the signs are already positive.
“The companies have got a lot of cooperation happening that is not seen publicly,” he said. “We’re working together on concepts for games and different things, we ‘ve worked together on a couple of sales – in Asia in particular – so it’s moving forward and it will move forward again next year and the year after that until we see where we’re going.
“You probably saw that Novomatic was going to have an IPO last year which was cancelled due to the state of gaming stocks and this and that, so they want to do a few things in their own back of house. But the synergies are there.”
According to Gladstone, Ainsworth largely missed the boat when Macau experienced its boom in the early-to-mid 2000s due to not being licensed in Nevada – the home base of Macau’s three US concessionaires. But with Novomatic on board and further growth opportunities throughout Southeast Asia – specifically Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines – Ainsworth is gradually “grinding its way out.”
“Novomatic has some products that we don’t have so we’re trying to work together in Asia,” Gladstone said.
“We’ve got our salesmen there and when they ask what else we’ve got, we tell them that we can bring in the Novomatic people. It gives us two strings to the bow.”
Gladstone, who is set to step down as CEO before the end of the financial year (but will remain on the board), also declared that Ainsworth’s results for the six months through 31 December 2018 were looking better than expected.
“We’ll have a far better second half than the first half, but there were a few anomalies in the first half that got us through,” he said.
“We’re close enough to AU$10 million in profit or thereabouts which is pretty good considering what we did. It’s a very competitive market. For us in Australia we directly opposed Aristocrat as well as IGT and SG, so it’s a competitive market but we’re still punching above our weight.”