COVID-19 delays have halted a fast opening to 2020 trading for Francaise des Jeux (FDJ), the company said, affecting its distribution networks for lottery and sports betting.
According to its Q1 2020 trading report, FDJ’s stakes decreased by 5 percent to €4.1 billion (Q12019: €4.3 billion), reflecting a 60 percent decline in retail revenues after March 16 – the day the French government officially approved its national lockout.
France’s stringent civic security measures forced FDJ to abandon its main-draw AMIGO lottery terminals, resulting in a 40% decline in lottery wagering.
FDJ performance was further impacted by the postponement of the global sports calendar, with the operator showing a 95% decrease in sports wagering after lockdown.
The FDJ announced a substantial effect of approximately ‘€100 million on revenue and €50 million on EBITDA’ weighing up first stage COVID-19 disruptions.
Despite reporting declines in sales across all vertical businesses, the company pointed out that early Q1 momentum sustained community gaming revenues at €500 million, just 1 percent compared to €505 million in 2019.
As reported in its March update, FDJ has agreed to approve a ‘COVID-19 action plan’ aiming to achieve €80 million in collective savings across its group operations This April, FDJ supported the ‘Tous unis contre le virus’ (‘Everyone Against the Virus’) movement of French companies, pledging €1 million to the charities of the nation and helping national emergency services.
Group FD Chairwoman and CEO Stéphane Pallez 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.”