· Ubisoft once again outperforms the market in 2003:
- In the United States – a market up by 1% (PCs and consoles) – Ubisoft grew by 42% in 12 months, ranking 7th among independent publishers.
- In Europe, Ubisoft became #2 leading independent publisher in France1 (+2 ranks), #3 in Germany² (+1 rank) and #6 in the United Kingdom3 (+1 rank)
· Ubisoft creates two new brands and is voted publisher of the year:
- Prince of Persia The Sands of Time™ (2 million units) ranked among the top 10 in the main European territories, and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six™3 (1.3 million units) became one of the five top-selling games on X-BoxTM in most European countries since its launch.
- Ubisoft was voted Publisher of the Year by Gamezone. Prince of Persia The Sands of Time™ PlayStationÒ2 received two awards: Game of the Year by Electronic Gaming Monthly and Best Multi-Platform Game by Gamezone. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six™3 was voted Best FPS 2003 Game by IGN. These achievements demonstrate that Ubisoft is successfully pursuing its strategy of developing enduring brands that will allow to increase the recurrence of its activity on a long term view.
· The postponement of a product and lower-than-expected sales of new brands impact 2003/04 operating income:
- The postponement of the launch of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell™: Pandora Tomorrow on PlayStationÒ2 and of GameCube impacted operating income by €30 million. The release of the X-BoxTM, PC and GameBoy Advance versions is scheduled for March.
- In a very competitive year-end market, sales of new brands such as Beyond Good and Evil™ and XIII, products which had been heavily marketed, were lower than the early-December forecasts. This had an impact of €10 million.
- This has led the group to record a one time amortization, particularly on Beyond Good and Evil™ and XIII, for a total of €15 million.
· New prospects for 2003/04:
- Sales: over €490million (at an average exchange rate of €1.18 per dollar for the year), or a growth at constant rates of at least 17%;
- Gross margin: over 61%;
- Operating income: approximately €15 million according to French accounting standards, before the one time amortization of €15 million, and €20 million according to pro forma accounting standards;
- Net free cash flow excluding acquisition: approximately €30 million.
“In 2003, Ubisoft posted more growth than any other company and was the 7th largest independent publisher in the United States4. It also confirmed its strong position in Europe. Today, Prince of Persia The Sands of Time™ is a resounding success for our group; a sequel to this hit is already being planned with an improved marketing positioning. We have learned from the launches of Beyond Good and Evil™ and XIII, two new brands launched in a very competitive market dominated by established brands. In 2004, we will pursue our growth strategy with the launch of sequels to our top brands and of new top quality creations aimed et a large audience. In order to speed up our creations on the next generation consoles and to strengthen our production capacity, we will strongly increase our Chinese and Canadian studios, the creative talents of which have been well proven. 2004 will therefore be a growth year for the industry and for Ubisoft – off to an impressive start thanks to Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell™: Pandora Tomorrow,” stated Yves Guillemot, Chairman of Ubisoft Entertainment.