FDJ recovers from pandemic woes in ‘very good’ 2021

Pollard Banknote fell just short of a landmark $500m in revenue, but it still managed to set a turnover record in 2021, a year that Co-CEO John Pollard labelled as ‘very successful’.
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The ‘acceleration of digital’ operations has helped Groupe FDJ outperform its pre-pandemic financial metrics during 2021 with online lottery operations hiking by 55% in the last two years.

Publishing its full financial results for FY2021, France’s largest gambling operator posted revenues of €2.26bn, up 17.5% from 2020’s figure and an increase of 10.5% on pre-pandemic levels in 2019. 

Group revenue growth was largely driven by online and digital sales, which were up 42% from 2020’s results. 2020’s online sales figures also represented a 40% increase on 2019, mirroring the global trend of digital sales hikes since the pandemic began. 

FDJ’s FY2021 lottery stakes accounted for €14.7bn out of the group’s total €18.98bn and saw revenues of €1.73bn, an increase of 15.6% on 2020 and 8.8% up on 2019’s performance, attributed to both instant games and draw game sales increases. 

Instant games stakes increased by 9.5% from 2019 attributed to the ‘success of the animation of the games offer’, showing the strength of FDJ’s digital products during the year. 

Meanwhile, draw-based stakes reached €5.74bn, up 7.5% from 2019, catalysed by the Loto and Euromillions games, which saw record historic jackpots and longer cycles during 2021.

Digital lottery bets increased by 37% on 2020 and 55% on 2019 and FDJ stated that this was the main contributing factor to the increase of players in the pool, which exceeded 4 million by the end of 2021.

Lottery growth was boosted by FDJ’s sports betting unit which saw stakes increase 19.1% from 2020 up to €4.22bn. This resulted in revenues of €464m, up 24.7% on 2020 and 14.1% on pre-pandemic levels.

In total across lottery and sports betting, payouts to winners totaled €12.97bn, leaving the group with a GGR of €6bn.

Strategically, FDJ also successfully completed a B2B diversification in North America, thrashing out deals with both OLG’s Proline+ online sportsbook and PlayAlberta. 

Completing its transfers to the state under French law, FDJ paid €3.82bn in public levies whilst also noting a €1.2bn in cost of sales including the €901m paid out in retailer commission.

Further expenditure saw marketing costs increase by 25% up to €415m and a 15.5% increase in general and administrative costs up to €199m. 

Following the growth in stakes and revenues, operating income for FDJ during 2021 totaled €393m, up 21.1%.

EBITDA for 2021 stood at €522m, an increase of 22.3% on 2020’s €427m EBITDA and an increase of 23.6% on pre-pandemic levels. 

This improvement in performance over the last two years saw FDJ declare a net profit of €294m, an increase of 37.6% on 2020 and 45.7% on pre-pandemic levels.

Stéphane Pallez, Chairman and CEO of the FDJ Group, commented: “2021 marks the return of FDJ to its pre-crisis growth trajectory for all of its activities. The Group’s 2021 results are significantly higher than those recorded in 2019, thanks to the acceleration of digital and the growth in the network of points of sale.”

Additionally, FDJ updated stakeholders on its expectations for the year ahead, alongside the revisions for its 2025 objectives.

In 2022, the group expects to deliver an increase in turnover of almost +5%, with digital stakes expected to increase by more than 20%. 

Regarding its 2025 objectives, FDJ aims to achieve average annual revenue growth of between 4% and 5% and an EBITDA margin rate above 20%.

Pallez concluded: “These performances testify to the relevance of our strategy and lead us to revise upwards the 2025 objectives communicated at the time of the Group’s IPO, both in terms of growth and EBITDA margin.

“At the same time, we are pursuing our societal commitments, which have already been strongly reinforced since the start of the health crisis. FDJ will continue to combine financial performance and extra-financial commitments for the benefit of all of its stakeholders.”