HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finland's Rovio, maker of hit mobile phone game Angry Birds, forecast a drop in earnings this year and said it planned to cut more than a third of its workforce, to focus on core businesses and help safeguard its long-term prospects.
Rovio has failed to create new hit games since the 2009 launch of Angry Birds, the No. 1 paid mobile app of all time, though it has tried to capitalize on its most successful brand by licensing its use on string of consumer products.
The company is also pinning its hopes on an Angry Birds 3D movie, due for release in May 2016 and which the company believes will yield new licensing deals.
The company said sales had been lower than expected so far this year and forecast flat sales and falling profits for the full year. It said it was cutting up to 260 jobs, or about 37 percent of the total.
"Fundamental changes are needed to ensure Rovio succeeds in its global ambitions to be the leading entertainment company with mobile games at its heart," Rovio CEO Pekka Rantala said in a statement.
Rovio spokeswoman Kaisu Karvala said the company is looking to concentrate on games, media and consumer products, and plans to divest a preschool unit which has opened Angry Birds playgrounds in China and Singapore.
Rovio, which cut 110 jobs in 2014, said however the planned reductions would apply to the whole organization, excluding those working on the movie in the United States and Canada. Most of the cuts will hit its operations in Finland.
Last year, Rovio's total revenue fell 9 percent to 158 million euros, while operating profit slumped 73 percent to 10 million euros.
(Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl; Editing by David Holmes)