Catena looks West as Euro impairments stunt 2021 growth  

Catena Media Plc has underlined its long-term growth strategy and ongoing international expansion projects, as the Stockholm-listed affiliate publisher registers a full-year 2021 operating loss of €12.7 million. 

The firm’s FY2021 earnings performance was significantly impacted due to the impairment of previously acquired German and French sports media assets totalling €49 million.

Headline metrics saw Catena register corporate revenues of €136m, up 28% on FY2020 results of €106 million, in which it underlined the growth of its North American network that contributed to 50% of yearly revenues.

Despite German market setbacks, Catena’s network registered a 32% increase in new depositing customers (NDCs) to +585,000 (FY2020: 443,000).

CEO Michael Daly commented on the results: “We continue to position ourselves for the global trend towards betting and casino regulation. The strict restrictions imposed on online gaming in Germany in the last year have been a challenging experience for us and the industry as a whole.

“But our intention is to learn from the process so we are better positioned in countries that may regulate in the future. Our business model thrives in regulated markets, and we embrace regulation as a way to ensure a level playing field and transparency for all.”

A breakdown of performance saw Catena achieve growth across all media units, led by its casino vertical which registered FY2021 revenues of €86 million (FY2020: €70m) and EBITDA results of €52 million (FY2020:€42m).

Elsewhere, boosted by its enlargement of US properties , the group’s expanded sports betting network registered a 51% revenue increase to €46 million (FY2020: €30m), double its  EBITDA contribution to €15.6 million (FY2020: €7.6m).

Network growth saw Catena declare an FY2021 adjusted EBITDA of €69 million, up 32% on corresponding FY2020 results of €52 million.

Despite absorbing significant European impairments, Catena noted its much improved cash-flow performance from assets that totalled €66 million during full-year trading.

On the outlook for 2022, the company expects North American revenues to exceed the $100 million mark, provided current market estimates and launch timetables hold firm.

“Early in 2022, our affiliate sports betting offers enjoyed successful launches in New York and Louisiana,” Daly remarked. “We also look forward with anticipation to the scheduled launch of sportsbook betting and casino gaming in Ontario in Canada at the start of Q2.

“Our extensive programme of advance investment and preparation gives us high expectations that Ontario will be among our largest North American markets in the future. If the market develops at its current expected rate, and no delays or similar unforeseen events occur in relation to scheduled market openings, we confidently expect revenue in North America to surpass USD 100m in 2022.

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