Sazka Group, the pan-European lottery and sports betting group, saw a double-digit rise in profits during the third quarter of 2019.
The Prague-headquartered group, which has leading market positions in the Czech Republic, Greece, Cyprus, Austria, and Italy, also saw a sizeable year-on-year increase in revenues during the three months to the end of September 2019.
Sazka announced gross gaming revenues (GGR) of €463m (£392.7m/$518.1m) for Q3, which was up 7% year-on-year, while net gaming revenue (NGR) grew by the same amount to €317m.
For the nine-month period, Sazka said consolidated GGR increased by 6% to €1.37bn, while the net figure was up 7% to €942m.
For Sazka’s brands GGR and NGR both increased by 10% driven by growth in instant lotteries and online products in the nine-month period. Concerning its interest in OPAP, GGR and NGR both increased by 6% driven mainly by growth in VLTs and numerical lotteries.
EBITDA for Q3 was up 9% year-on-year to €143m, with margin increasing by 0.7pp to 45.1%. Profit before tax was up 13% to €96m with profit from continuing operations up 12% to €72m.
Profit before tax grew 27% to €288m for the nine-month period, with continued operations up 28% to €217m. Numerical lotteries EBITDA grew by 11%, instant lotteries EBITDA by 27%, sports betting EBITDA by 22%, and digital games’ EBITDA by 66%, compared to the corresponding period in 2018. The group said that continued strong top line performance, combined with improved margins across the businesses, resulted in it generating consolidated EBITDA of €430m, which was an increase of 19% compared to the corresponding period in 2018.
Looking ahead the group said:
“Sazka Group recognises that mobile and digital offerings will be important for the sector’s long-term success. The success of our initiatives in this area is clearly seen within the group’s digital games business segment where net gaming revenues more than tripled during the first nine months of 2019, compared to the corresponding period in 2018.”
Sazka Group recently agreed a deal to acquire Novomatic Group’s 17.19% stake in Casinos Austria (CASAG).
It also recently upped its stake in OPAP to almost 40% after the completion of an offer period during which it attempted to acquire all the Greek operator’s outstanding shares.
Sazka Group came to an agreement with around 7.25% of OPAP shareholders during the offer period, which concluded on 29 October. It owned around 33% of OPAP prior to the offer period having purchased a major stake in 2013 through venture Emma Delta when the operator was first privatised.
In total it has agreed to acquire 23,323,179 shares at €9.12 – amounting to €212.7m (£178.9m$235.7m). It had earmarked €2.06bn for the total outstanding shares.