Sazka highlights importance of digital growth in FY2021 amid COVID disruption

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Sazka Group has announced its financial results for FY2021, with CEO Robert Chvatal lauding its “very strong performance” despite continued COVID-19 related restrictions in a number of countries.

Greece, Austria and Italy all experienced restrictions during Q4 2021, yet the lottery operator still increased its consolidated gross gaming revenue (GGR) by 53% to €913.9m, which contributed to a GGR increase of 51% across the full year (FY2021:€3,056.6m).

Meanwhile, Sazka’s consolidated adjusted EBITDA increased by 80% YoY to €966.8m, following a 101% rise in Q4 to €279.2m.

The company’s consolidated adjusted free cash flow was €916.9m in FY2021, with €266.8m of it from Q4.

Chvatal commented: “Our geographical and distribution channel diversifications are two of our many strengths that have contributed to our strong performance this year. The online segment and certain geographies, in particular the Czech Republic and Italy, also performed exceptionally well, helping to offset weaker trading caused by COVID-19 related restrictions which impacted the physical retail channel in Greece and Austria.”

Sazka’s digital and online-only offerings proved particularly pivotal to its results as changes in consumer behaviour, driven by the impact of COVID-19, increased its online base and saw a surge in registrations.

In particular, its online channel contributed 38% of GGR in the Czech Republic, compared with 31% in 2020 and 19% in 2019.

“2021 has once again shown that we are well positioned to successfully face extreme and unexpected circumstances and our business model is exceptionally resilient,” Chvatal added.

“We benefit in particular from our diverse range of products, sales channels and geographical exposure, our favourable cost structure, the strong cash flow generation of our business and our strong liquidity and access to multiple sources of capital.

“We also have a wealth of knowledge and expertise within the organisation, and the agility and resilience of our team meant that we were well placed to deal with and recover strongly from the pandemic.

“We are confident that these same strengths position us well for future growth.”

Sazka’s parent company, Sazka Entertainment, rebranded to Allwyn in December 2021, and was named as the preferred bidder of the fourth National Lottery licence in March 2022 by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), following its application to replace current incumbent Camelot in October 2021.