There may be no dividends for shareholders this year but Entain plc, now headed by Jette Nygaard-Andersen, is confident that it has beaten back the debilitating financial impact of Covid-19 thanks to the saving grace and future direction of online gaming.
The British FTSE100 gambling giant, formerly GVC Holdings, has just announced a group profit of £113.8m (US$158.2m/€132.12m) after tax for the year 2020, a notable turnaround after 2019’s declared loss of £131.2m (US$182.39m/€152.3m).
“[The] results demonstrate the extraordinary resilience and professionalism of our people, as well as the importance of having a truly diversified business model that is not overly reliant on any one product, brand, territory, or channel,” said Nygaard-Andersen.
“I am hugely excited about the future prospects for Entain. We are [increasingly] a digital entertainment company with a clear strategic focus on growth and sustainability.
“As such, we have a fantastic platform from which to use our proprietary technology to expand into new markets and reach new audiences around the world,” she said.
Entain–owners of iconic brands such as Bwin, Coral, Ladbrokes, PartyPoker and Sportingbet–declared revenues of £3.56bn (US$4.94bn/€4.13bn) for the year, almost identical to 2019.
Thanks in great part to online operations defying Covid-19, EBITDA rose 11 per cent, year-on-year, to £843.1m (US$1.17bn/€978.68m).
Online revenue, alone, grew 27 per cent to £2.68bn (US$3.72bn/€3.11bn), with iGaming seeing a near 30 per cent increase in action.
Nonetheless, the coronavirus pandemic, as everywhere, delivered a massive financial hit to Entain’s bricks-and-mortar retail verticals, evinced by the company’s 2020 year’s end net debt of £1.7bn (US$2.36bn/€1.97bn).
Retail revenue fell 40 per cent to £857.1m (US$1.19bn/€995m) and retail EBITDA dropped some 64 per cent to £98.3m (US$136.62m/€114.12m).
Meantime, Entain has trimmed its retail estate in the UK from 3,233 betting shops to 2,845, while continuing its international expansion in Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Georgia, Italy and Portugal.