FDJ Group has secured an agreement to acquire Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI), the operator of the Irish National Lottery, in a ‘major step’ for the rollout of its international growth strategy.
The deal will see the French state-owned lottery operator become the operator of the Irish National Lottery until 2034. PLI has been managing the lottery since 2014 when it paid a €140m fee for a 20 year licence.
The announcement comes four months after Irish media reported that the PLI’s current owner, the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan (OTTP), was looking to sell the holding.
FDJ’s acquisition of PLI is still subject to certain conditions, however, notably the approval of the Irish National Lottery regulator, but the Boulogne-based business expects to pass these hurdles by H2 2023.
The company expects the PLI to make a strong contribution to its business, having cited the Irish company’s 2022 gross gaming revenue (GGR) of €399m, revenue of €140m and a ‘comparable’ EBITDA margin with FDJ.
Stéphane Pallez, Chairwoman and CEO of the FDJ Group, said: “I am delighted with the acquisition of Premier Lotteries Ireland, the operator of the Irish national lottery and a long-standing partner in the Euromillions community. Becoming the operator of a foreign lottery marks another major step in the FDJ Group’s international development.”
The deal marks a further expansion of FDJ’s international reach after the firm acquired Dutch betting operator ZETurf In November 2022. In contrast, it also marks a downsizing of OTTP’s lottery operations since it sold outgoing UK National Lottery operator Camelot UK to incoming licence holder Allwyn.
In a further boost to FDJ, the group has also reported year-on-year revenue growth of 6% to €1.3bn (€1.2bn), accompanied by recurring EBITDA of €300m, representing a margin of 23.3% although a decline of 3% on €308m recorded in H1 2022.
However, lottery revenue grew by just 1% to €958m (€948m), with FDJ attributing this to a ‘low number’ of Loto and Euromillions jackpots in H1. This undermined ‘momentum in digital stakes’, FDJ explained, although the firm did cite ‘good activity’ in retail and online operations, with stakes up 3% and 13% respectively.
More success was found in sports betting and gaming, with the segment registering a 10% increase in revenue to to €257m (€231.3m). The company closed the first half of the year with net income of €181m, a 13% increase on corresponding 2022 results of €157.5m.
Pallez remarked: “FDJ recorded solid results in the first half of the year, driven by a good increase in stakes in our network of 30,000 points of sale, a sustained dynamic in digital stakes and the integration of new activities.”