Sazka delivers ‘strong performance’ in Q3 as COVID interruptions relax

Sazka Group has delivered a ‘strong performance’ throughout Q3, setting records for both Gross Gaming Revenue and EBITDA in the first uninterrupted quarter since Q4 2019
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Sazka Group has delivered a ‘strong performance’ throughout Q3, setting records for both Gross Gaming Revenue and EBITDA in the first uninterrupted quarter since Q4 2019. 

Publishing its financial report for the period ending September 30, the pan-European lottery operator recorded a GGR of €876.2m, up 14% on the same period last year and setting a new company record in the process. 

With most European countries aiming to avoid national lockdowns and other restrictions, Sazka was able to trade with minimal disruption, leading to GGR increases across its territories, with Austria increasing by 2%, the Czech Republic by 29%, Greece by 20% and Italy by 7%. 

Austrian business was buoyed by a ‘significant improvement in profitability due to run-rate cost savings thanks to the successful realisation of the restructuring plan’, delivering savings of €45m per annum and complementing both retail and digital growth.

Greece saw OPAP strengthened by its Stoiximan assets, with the online gaming business helping the financial position return to pre-pandemic levels. 

The Austrian restructuring plan alongside uninterrupted operations helped the group post a record adjusted EBITDA of €285.1m, up 40% on the same period last year and again setting a company record. Furthermore, post-tax profit soared by 191% up to €151.5m.

Sazka CEO, Robert Chvatal, commented: “The third quarter was the first quarter in 2021 when all our businesses operated without material COVID-19 related restrictions. Our physical retail businesses in Greece and Cyprus and casinos in Austria and internationally, which were adversely impacted by restrictions in H1, demonstrated very rapid recovery, in line with our expectations. 

“I am especially pleased about a significant improvement in profitability levels in our Austrian business following the successful execution of our restructuring program, which is expected to deliver annual savings of €45m.”

The group acknowledged that, although Q3 was relatively plain sailing with regards to COVID-19 restrictions, that the Omicron variant poses challenges to the future, although Chvatal noted that current restrictions are “much more limited than in previous periods and have in the case of Austria already been relaxed again.”

Strategically, Sazka has submitted its proposal to replace Camelot as the licensee holder of the UK National Lottery. The proposal was submitted during Q3 and is currently in the evaluation process. The winner of the concession is set to be revealed in February 2022 by the UK Gambling Commission, with Sisal and Northern & Shell also competing for the 10-year contract. 

Furthermore, Sazka revealed that its parent company Sazka Entertainment is rebranding to its UK identity of Allwyn to reflect its evolution to a global business. Chvatal added on the rebrand: “Allwyn will retain the iconic local brands that are cherished by both its consumers and employees and have been a key factor driving the strong organic growth of the Company.”

Chvatal concluded that Sazka is well-positioned to capitalise on the strong performance of Q3, expecting more of the same in Q4: “Overall, I am very pleased with SAZKA Group’s continuing strong performance in Q3 2021 and I look forward with confidence and excitement to a great fourth quarter and 2022 as our strong trading momentum persists and we continue to make progress on our strategic objectives.”