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Supercell to launch new game after sales soar in 2013

By Ritsuko Ando

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finnish mobile game maker Supercell plans to launch a third game next month, hoping to replicate its success with hits "Clash of Clans" and "Hay Day" that helped it to earn $892 million in revenue last year.

The growth in revenue from $101 million in 2012, to an average of around $2.4 million a day, underscores a boom in mobile gaming and Supercell's spectacular rise since it was founded in 2010.

In October, Supercell sold a 51 percent stake in the company to Japanese tech and telecoms group SoftBank Corp for 150 billion yen, a deal that valued it at $3 billion - more than Zynga, which sold former hits such as "FarmVille."

Its popular games "Clash of Clans" and "Hay Day" reached the top spot in Apple's App Store in 137 and 96 countries respectively, SoftBank said in October.

The games were initially released on Apple devices but were also introduced on Google's Android operating system last year. The company said it had no plans to expand its games to Microsoft's Windows Phone system adopted by Nokia.

Supercell said its annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) grew to $464 million from $51 million in 2012 and a loss in 2011.

Chief Executive Ilkka Paananen said its third game called "Boom Beach," a battle game set on beaches and currently in a trial phase, would be available from March. He said there were plans for more to follow.

"There's a roadmap of three, four years of ideas," he told reporters on a conference call.

In a sign of further sales growth this year, a hacker recently posted online that Supercell was earning $5.15 million in revenue per day. Paananen declined to confirm or deny that figure but acknowledged internal information had been stolen.

The Finnish gaming industry, which is also led by Rovio, creator of mega-hit "Angry Birds", has been a bright spot in a small Nordic economy which has struggled with weakness in traditional industries such as paper and machinery as well as the decline of Nokia, once the world's biggest handset maker.

Supercell said the company and its founders paid $345 million in taxes to Finland last year.

(Editing by Mark Potter and Anthony Barker)

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