SAZKA posts strong H1 2021 financials after navigating COVID-19 struggles

SAZKA Group has published its financial results for H1 of 2021, announcing net profit has soared by 322% to €177.1m as the group focuses on its structural growth strategy.
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SAZKA Group has published its financial results for H1 of 2021, announcing net profit has soared by 322% to €177.1m as the group focuses on its geographic growth strategy. 

For the period ending June 30, GGR totalled €1.27bn, representing a 94% increase year-on-year following the acquisition of CASAG and Stoiximan.

Excluding the performance of these two brands, GGR for the period decreased by 12% to €573.4 m. The group attributes the decrease to the COVID-19 pandemic, which severely impacted operations in Greece, Cyprus and Austria.

Lottery sales grew significantly with numerical lottery sales hiking up by 78% to €621.6m. Instant lottery sales also improved by 101% up to €119.6m as SAZKA improved upon its core competence. 

Igaming sales also skyrocketed during H1 2021, totalling €217.2m, an improvement of 762% year-on-year. 

Total EBITDA for the period increased by 122% up to €371.4m, although excluding CASAG and Stoiximan, the growth is only 68%, up to €255.7m.

Updating its investors, SAZKA commented: “While all our digital channels continued to operate without interruption, some of our physical retail networks were affected by the first wave of COVID-19 restrictions in the first half of 2020. Subsequently, all operations resumed full activity in Q3 2020, albeit with some minor restrictions in certain cases. 

“In Q4 2020 and Q1 2021, some of our physical retail networks were again affected by restrictions as a result of new waves of COVID-19, while others operated with no material interruption from the new measures which were introduced. During Q2 2021, remaining material restrictions were lifted, all our business having resumed full activity by the end of the quarter.”

As alluded to above, the financial results come as SAZKA is enacting a strategy to widen its scope across Europe. Under the UK corporate identity of Allwyn, the group is bidding to be the licensee of the UK National Lottery, with the winner of the fourth licence competition set to be announced in February 2022. 

Within the financial results, SAZKA acknowledged the significant risk associated with the tender as marketing costs rose 183% to €100m: “There are considerable costs associated with participation in public tenders, such as our current participation in the competition for the fourth licence to operate the UK National Lottery and pursuing potential M&A transactions. 

“We may not be successful in winning the tenders or closing the transactions we pursue. Furthermore, companies acquired, or businesses operated under licences which we are awarded through tenders may not achieve the levels of returns, profits or productivity expected from them.”