CEO Jan Karas: OPAP showed ‘operational and financial readiness’ in 2020

OPAP has expressed confidence in its growth strategy and future prospects despite a tough end-of-year closing derailing its return towards financial stability.
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OPAP SA has expressed confidence in its growth strategy and future prospects, despite a tough end-of-year closing derailing its return towards financial stability, in its consolidated financial results for the period ended December 31, 2020.

Publishing its full-year 2020 financial results, the Athens-listed gambling group recorded a 30% revenue fall to €1.12bn (FY2019: €1.61bn) attributed to Greece enforcing its second national lockdown during Q4, which forced OPAP to close 2/3 of its retail venues.

OPAP reported that group Q4 revenues decrease by 50% to €230m (Q4 2019: €446m) with all trading units impacted by pandemic uncertainties.

Group CEO Jan Karas said: “Although Q4 was yet another quarter disrupted by Covid-19, with retail closure and restrictions imposed for tackling the pandemic, OPAP has once again demonstrated substantial operational and financial readiness to mitigate the impact, through its diversified portfolio.”

The group’s flagship lottery unit saw its full-year revenues drop to €518m, down 33% on corresponding FY2019 results of €778m, as the division was forced to observe venue restrictions throughout the year.

Difficult Q4 trading conditions saw OPAP’s sports betting summer momentum wiped-out, as it recorded full-year revenues of €310m, a 21% decline against FY2019 results of €396m.

Meanwhile, despite upgrades to its retail systems, the group’s VLTs registered a 30% drop in FY2020 revenues to €200m (FY2019: €295m) as its betting stations had to operate at a limited capacity.

Absorbing COVID-19 shocks, across its commercial pipeline, OPAP reported an FY2020 EBITDA of €260m, down 37% on FY2019 results of €412m.

Despite having to deal with the pandemic, OPAP emphasised that 2020 had been a year of significant group-wide strategic progress, with positive results registered net savings whilst the company strengthened its online gambling portfolio.

Closing its 2020 accounts, OPAP delivered net profits of €205m, up 1.5% on FY2019 results of €202m, as the group reported significant savings on retail agent commissions (-32%) combined with lower marketing expenses (-10%).

Furthermore, net results received a boost due to the integration of Kaizen Gaming’s Q4 profits of €142m to its end of year financial results.

Following approval from Athens and Cypriot competition courts, Kaizen Gaming’s Stoiximan online gambling brand has been consolidated as an OPAP asset, recognised as of December 2 onwards.

Karas stated: “On the operational front, online growth contributed significantly to our topline, with both our revenues and our customer base reaching all-time high levels. At the same time, our investment in Kaizen Gaming, which operates the leading Stoiximan brand, has been concluded, our games portfolio has been further enhanced and our retail network partners have been supported efficiently.

“Looking forward and having successfully preserved our solid financial position and cash reserves, we continue – despite the still prevailing exceptional conditions – to build on what we have already accomplished. With confidence, we are pursuing the successful execution of OPAP’s new business strategy, the Fast Forward strategy, in order to deliver even better Gaming Entertainment to our customers.”