A strong opening to 2020 trading for Francaise des Jeux (FDJ) has been halted by COVID-19 disruptions, said the company, impacting its lottery and sports betting retail networks.
According to its Q1 2020 trading update, FDJ has recorded a 5% decline in stakes to €4.1 billion (Q12019: €4.3bn), underlining a 60% drop in retail sales since 16 March – the date the French government formally sanctioned its national lockdown.
France’s drastic civic protection measures have forced FDJ to suspend operation of its main-draw AMIGO lottery terminals, leading to a 40% drop in lottery wagering.
FDJ performance has been further impacted by the postponement of the global sports calendar, with the operator revealing a 95% drop in sports wagering since lockdown was introduced.
Weighing-up first stage COVID-19 disruptions, FDJ reported a material impact of approximately ‘€100 million on revenue and €50 million on EBITDA’.
Despite recording sales declines across all business verticals, the firm underlined that early Q1 momentum maintained group gaming revenues at €500 million, just 1% under 2019 comparatives of €505 million.
As documented in its March update, FDJ has moved to sanction a ‘COVID-19 action plan’, seeking to secure €80 million in combined savings across its group operations
This April, FDJ joined French enterprises’ “Tous unis contre le virus” (‘Everyone against the Virus’) campaign, donating €1 million to the nation’s charities and providing support for national emergency services.
Stéphane Pallez, Chairwoman and CEO of Group FD, said: “The exceptional situation is already having very significant effects on the company’s activity.
“That is why we have decided to draw up a substantial cost-savings plan to limit the impact on the company’s results while preserving its ability to resume all of its activities as soon as possible.
“At the same time, we are continuing to take practical initiatives in support of our stakeholders, and above all our retailers. Against this backdrop, the Board of Directors has decided to propose to the Annual General Meeting of 18 June to maintain the payment of dividends on the 2019 results, but to cut the amount by 30% due to the uncertainties about the duration and scale of the consequences stemming from the current crisis in 2020.”