Entain Reports Legal Difficulties in Turkey Causing £580M Loss in H1

Entain Plc continues to pursue its growth strategy and long-term financial outlook after a period of change in the first half of the year when the FTSE gaming group added four new businesses to its global portfolio.

Having released its interim trading results for 2023, Entain reported group net revenue (NGR) of £2.4bn, up 14% from the first half of 2022, when revenue was £2.1bn.

Presenting net revenue (NGR) for the period of £1.65bn, up 14%, Entain expressed satisfaction with the results and growth of its online division in “regulated markets”. This is confirmed by a record 23% YoY increase in active online customers.

In its report on key events for the period, Entain highlighted its position as “the only global operator deriving 100% of its revenue from regulated markets” and highlighted the acceleration of the move away from markets that do not have a clear prospect of domestic regulation.

Despite regulatory adjustments in the UK (-2% NGR) and Germany markets, which saw “a 30% drop in NGR compared to 2022 in constant currency”, online growth persists.

As announced earlier in the week, US company BetMGM significantly increased its NGR in the first half to $994 million, up 55% YoY with 18% market share.

It is important to note that the venture capital highlights confirmed positive EBITDA in the second quarter. BetMGM continues to aim for the upper end of its FY 2023 NGR forecast in the $1.8B to $2B range.

CEO of Entain Group, Jette Nygaard-Andersen, said: “This has been another period of strong performance for Entain as we make clear strides towards delivering our strategic ambitions. In particular, we are making excellent progress in broadening our customer base and deepening our audience engagement, as evidenced by the record number of active online customers on our platform.

“BetMGM continues to show momentum and backed by our technology and capabilities we are excited by the improvements we are delivering for customers in the US.”

During the trading period, Entain made four significant trades. This included the acquisition of leading Polish betting group STS Holdings for £750m, as well as a partnership with TAB NZ to gain unique access to the New Zealand sports betting market.

In addition, the group completed the £120m acquisition of 365Scores and £200m of Angstrom Sports. These moves are aimed at diversifying content and empowering products to enter new markets.

First half reports show Entain’s record total operating expenses of £626m and group EBITDA of £499m, up 6% YoY. This resulted in an underlying pre-tax corporate profit of £287.6m.

However, the group also posted a post-tax loss from continuing operations of £502.5m as corporate management committed a £585m reserve to HMRC’s investigation of its former Turkish business, which was sold in 2017. 

With respect to Turkey, Entain said negotiations are ongoing for a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) and the court is expected to approve the settlement in the Q4 of 2023.

Entain underlined its positive outlook for the remainder of 2023, expecting the group’s annual EBITDA to be in the range of £1bn to £1.05bn.

Nygaard-Andersen expressed satisfaction with Entain’s strong performance, highlighting BetMGM’s success in expanding its customer base and revenue growth momentum.

Entain continues to focus on sustainable long-term growth across the group and the global operating capabilities are expected to benefit shareholders in FY 2023 and beyond.

Nygaard-Andersen added: “The combination of regulation, digitalisation and evolving customer behaviours underpinning a total addressable market opportunity of approximately $170bn over the medium term. Entain’s position as a differentiated leader across diverse and regulated markets enables us to maximise this growth opportunity. 

“Embedded in our ambition of being the world leader in betting, gaming and interactive entertainment, is our ongoing industry leadership in player protection, responsibility and sustainability. We continue to set the standards for our industry, ensuring the powerful Entain platform continues to drive greater diversification, greater scale to leverage our capabilities, higher quality growth and more sustainable earnings across our markets globally.”

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