‘Call of Duty’ firm Activision Blizzard profits fall

Pre-tax profits at the main Irish arm of global games giant, Activision Blizzard fell by 5% to €2.42m last year.

Activision Blizzard is the firm behind the blockbuster World of Warcraft and Call of Duty games.

Revenues at its Blizzard Entertainment Ireland Ltd arm also fell by 5%, to €26.6m.

At the start of 2012, the Cork-based firm employed 926 people, but a review of Activision Blizzard’s global operations led to large job cuts at the Irish unit which continued into last year.

The firm cut its costs and its workforce reduced from 511 to 465 staff. Total staff costs fell from €21.3m to €19.87m last year, which included its salary costs falling from €19m to €17.6m.

It paid a dividend last year of €15m.

“The directors are satisfied with the performance of the company for the financial year,” according to a report in the accounts.

“The company continues to develop the portfolio of services provided to other group companies,” they said.

Last year, Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty: Black Ops III was the top selling game around the globe and the franchise had exceeded $11bn (€10.35bn) in sales since its launch in 2003.

Other popular Blizzard games include Diablo II: Lord of Destruction and World of Warcraft: Reign of Chaos.

Accumulated profits fell sharply from €15.9m to €3m, as a result of the dividend payout, while shareholder funds fell from €18.4m to €5.5m.

The accounts show that the firm’s profit takes account of non-cash depreciation costs of €632,852.

Meanwhile, administrative expenses fell from €25.5m to €24.2m.

It paid corporation tax of €325,767 and posted a net profit of €2.1m.

The firm’s spend on operating leases last year fell from €1m to €861,518.

It received €2.5m in grants from the IDA that “may become repayable in certain circumstances as set out in the grant agreements with the IDA”, according to the accounts.

“In the opinion of the directors, such circumstances are unlikely to occur,” they add.

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