Groupe Française des Jeux (FDJ) has reported a ‘gradual recovery’ in its financial performance for 2020, as strong second-half lottery sales helped the French operator alleviate the impact of the pandemic from earlier in the year.
Completing its first year as a Paris Euronext enterprise, FDJ recorded full-year group stakes (lottery sales and sports betting wagers) of €16bn, down 7% on corresponding FY 2019’s €17.1bn.
The firm’s wagering decline was primarily attributed to the closure of its ‘AMIGO’ lottery point-of-sales network, which saw it take a 30% hit on retail sales during the first-half trading period.
However, the lottery shortfall was clawed back during the summer, with FDJ declaring an improved Loto and Euromillions sales increase of 6% to €3.2bn. Meanwhile, full-year lottery sales were maintained at €12.7bn, down 6% on 2019 results.
Despite its downturn, the French operator detailed a positive outlook for its lottery unit, as it has since reopened the majority of its retail network, equating to 30,000 sales points.
Further first-half deficits saw FDJ’s sports betting division maintain a 10% decline in full-year wagers to €3.2bn, despite the unit reporting a strong 20% increase on the end of year performance.
Impacted by severe first-half trading headwinds, FDJ recorded a full-year corporate turnover of €1.9bn, down 6% on FY 2019’s €2.05bn.
Despite its sales and turnover downturn, the firm praised its ‘early mobilisation’ which saw it implement costs controls of €80m, helping ‘preserve its EBITDA’ of €214m, up from €209m in 2019.
The French operator told investors that it will continue to observe the pandemic impacts on French business and society, as it is committed to contributing nearly €15m to support local businesses to help them in a sustainable way to overcome the consequences of the health crisis.
The company also underlined its strengthened EBITDA cash reserve ‘exceeding €1bn’, allowing it to continue its duties as France’s national lottery operator.
CEO Stéphane Pallez said: “The health crisis had a strong impact on our business, particularly in the first half of the year.
“But the good recovery recorded in the second half of the year, combined with the Group’s responsiveness and the relevance of its digital strategy, have enabled us to preserve our performance and our annual results.”
Pallez concluded: “I would like to thank the group’s employees for their mobilisation and to renew our support for our network of points of sale, some of which have been severely affected.
“At the start of 2021, even if uncertainties persist, FDJ remains confident in its prospects for sustainable growth, in line with its raison d’être.”
Earlier this month, it was announced that FDJ had ranked second amongst French companies in ‘gender parity’ rated by independent workplace and employment ratings agency Humpact Emploi.