Entain keeps post-H1 consensus ahead of critical portfolio refresh

Entain Plc has reported that it continues to achieve strategic objectives, as its business benefits from a ‘broader recreational customer base’ across regulated markets.

Publishing its Interim 2022 trading results, the FTSE100 gambling group declared a ‘robust H1 performance’ against challenging global economic and regulatory headwinds.

H1 trading saw Entain generate group net-gaming-revenues (NGR) of £2.11bn, up 18% on comparative 2021 results of £1.79bn.

Headline growth was achieved despite the FTSE group registering a 7% dip in online revenues to £1.47bn (H12021: £1.58bn).

As disclosed in an earlier trading update, online performance was dragged by “prior year comparators driven by COVID lockdowns, temporary closure in the Netherlands, affordability measures in the UK and customers responding to the economic backdrop”.

A tough trading period for its online unit saw Entain sports brands register a 6% NGR fall to £702m (H12021: £750m), whilst returns were further compounded by a 9% NGR decline in Gaming results to £752m (H12021: £825m).

Registering a 22% drop in online EBITDA to £384m (H12021: £495m), results reflected NGR declines in the Western European markets of the UK (-15%), Italy (-12%) and Germany (19%).

Chief Executive Jette Nygaard-Anderson told investors: “During the first half our online operations faced several headwinds, with lower than expected growth in Brazil due to increased competition ahead of regulation and the impact of tighter affordability measures in the UK.

“We also saw our increasingly recreational customer base responding to the changing macro environment and inflationary fears by moderating spend per head across the UK and parts of Europe.”

Facing continued headwinds, Entain said it will move to refresh its online portfolio, having executed five transactions in 2020 to expand into regulated markets

H2 trading will see Entain integrate the newly acquired assets of BetCity Netherlands alongside the Latvian and Polish subsidiaries of Klondaika and Totolotek and Canadian Mohawk betting group Avid Gaming’s Sports Interaction brand, .

Elsewhere, a forthcoming Eastern European expansion was declared as the company forms its ‘Entain CEE’ division, which will be led by newly acquired Croatian asset SuperSport (deal to be announced today) in partnership with new strategic Central European partner EMMA Capital. 

The refresh of its online portfolio will be supported by the continued recovery of Entain’s retail unit that registered an H1 NGR of £354m, up 250% on 2021 results of £99m

Ladbrokes Coral and Eurobet Italia subsidiaries were branded as the period’s top performers, ‘seeing volumes ahead of pre-COVID levels’ and generating a retail EBITDA of £141m, reversing H1 2021 losses of £61m.

Nygaard-Anderson continued: “Our Retail operations performed strongly during the first half of 2022. Post Covid and its associated lockdowns, customers are re-engaging with the more interactive experience our shops provide with volumes ahead of pre-COVID levels.”

US directives saw Entain underline the continued growth of its MGM joint-venture that is forecasted to generate full-year NGR of + $1.3bn and maintain its hard target objective to declare positive EBITDA trading results during 2023.

H1 trading saw Group EBITDA increase by 17% to £471m, as the firm maintained its full-year 2022 earnings forecast in the ‘consensus range’ of £925-to-£975m.

Closing H1 accounts, Entain declared a group profit after tax from continuing operations of £28m, down 68% on corresponding 2021 results of £91m.

The group’s bottom-line costs accounted for £108m attributed to US BetMGM JV expenses, £39m in period financing costs and net foreign exchange declines of £55m versus a £77m gain reported during 2021

“Entain’s first half performance reflects the underlying strength of our business model underpinned by our growth and sustainability strategy,” – Entain leadership’s financial outlook explained.

“The group’s momentum remains strong and our outlook for the balance of the year is unchanged with FY 2022 Group EBITDA4,5,9 expected to be in the range of £925m to £975m, in line with current consensus.

“The economic environment remains uncertain in many of our markets, however we remain confident that our customer focus, increasing diversification and proven ability to deliver growth will see us deliver further progress for all stakeholders.”

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