July 29, 2020

H1 2020: Good resumption of business since mid-May & Preservation of EBITDA margin thanks to the savings plan


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Boulogne-Billancourt (France), 29 July 2020 (17:45 p.m.) – La Française des Jeux (FDJ), France’s leading gaming operator, announces its results for the first half of 2020.

  • The good momentum in stakes seen in the early part of the year (increase of 5% until mid-March) was halted by the consequences of the Covid-19 epidemic (decline of nearly 60% over the two months of lockdown). The gradual recovery since the lifting of lockdown in mid-May has accelerated with the gradual resumption of sporting competitions, including most of the national football championships in Europe, and the return of Amigo on 8 June. As such, the decline in stakes was limited to 18% over the half-year compared with the first half of 2019. They totalled €6.9 billion, breaking down as:
  • Lottery stakes down 13% at €5.8 billion:
    • Of which -15% for draw games to €2.2 billion and -11% for instant games to €3.6 billion;
    • A 50% increase in online stakes to €0.5 billion.
  • Sports betting stakes down 39% at €1.1 billion.
  • Half-year revenue totalled €849 million, down 15% on an adjusted basis,[1] and EBITDA amounted to €174 million, a margin of 20.5%.
  • For EBITDA, the mechanical impact of the decline in activity was partially offset by the implementation of a large part of the savings plan of more than €80 million for 2020.
  • From mid-June the Group has returned to an overall level of activity comparable with that of 2019. However, in view of the many uncertainties that remain, the Group does not communicate any business or earnings forecasts for the financial year 2020 as a whole. However, it should be borne in mind that the EBITDA margin for the second half of 2019 benefited from exceptional long lottery cycles, as well as unexpected sporting results, which reduced the player payout ratio in the sports betting segment.

Stéphane Pallez, Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer of FDJ, said: “The Group’s strong mobilisation from the onset of the health crisis and a swiftly implemented cost-cutting plan have limited the impact on the first-half results. From mid-June, we have been recording stakes at a level comparable with that of 2019. Our strategic orientations and the strength of the FDJ model have been confirmed, and we continue to invest to support the development of all our activities.”

The 2019 data used for the following analyses have been adjusted to reflect the new tax regime that came into force on 1st January 2020 and to consolidate Sporting Group over a full year (but without adjustment for long lottery cycles)

Key figures (in millions of euros)


30 June 2020

30 June 2019 adjusted

Chg. vs adjusted

30 June 2019 published

Chg. vs published













Recurring operating profit






Net profit





















* Revenue: net gaming revenue and revenue from other activities

** EBITDA: recurring operating profit adjusted for depreciation and amortisation

Activity and results for H1 2020

  • Stakes of €6.9 billion, down 18.4%
  • Lottery stakes of €5.8 billion (-12.6%)

Lottery staked amounted to €5.8 billion, with a drop of 11.3% to €3.6 billion for instant games and a drop of 14.6% to €2.2 billion for draw games:

  • For instant games, the decline can be attributed in large part to the steep decline in footfall in points of sale during lockdown and the lack of activity in the product portfolio during the second quarter;
  • For draw games, the decrease can be ascribed chiefly to the suspension of Amigo, an express draw game in points of sales from 19 March to 8 June. Adjusted for Amigo, draw games stakes were down only slightly (-1.7%);
  • Online lottery stakes enjoyed good momentum, with an increase of 50% to €0.5 billion, and a marked acceleration in the second quarter, driven mainly by growth in the number of active players and the almost doubling of new registrations on
  • Sports betting stakes of €1.1 billion (-38.8%)

Sports betting stakes totalled €1.1 billion. After a performance in line with objectives at the start of the year, sports betting stakes were impacted by the gradual cancellation of virtually all sporting competitions from mid-March 2020. No major sporting competitions took place during lockdown, which considerably reduced the betting offer. Since mid-May, sporting competitions, particularly football, have gradually resumed, resulting in a very significant resumption in stakes.

  • Revenue down 14.7% at €849 million

On half-yearly stakes of €6.9 billion (-18.4%), player winnings totalled €4.6 billion (-19.9%), representing a player payout (PPO) ratio of 67.3%, compared with 68.4% in the first half of 2019. The decline in the PPO reflects the change in the betting mix, with a higher share of lottery games. In addition, the sports betting PPO was reduced by unexpected results.

FDJ recorded gross gaming revenue (GGR: stakes less prizes won) down 15.1% at €2.3 billion. Net gaming revenue (NGR: GGR less contribution to the public finances) amounted to €829 million, i.e. 12.0% of stakes, with stability in the rate of public levies on games compared with that of the first half of 2019 at 63.5% of GGR, or €1.4 billion.

The FDJ Group’s revenue amounted to €849 million (-14.7%), compared with €995 million in the six months to end-June 2019.

  • EBITDA of €174 million, representing a margin of 20.5% on revenue (vs 20.9% in H1 2019)
  • Contribution margin by activity:
    • Lottery: contribution margin steady at 32.2%

The contribution margin of the Lottery BU was €219 million, i.e. a decline of €37 million (‑14.4%), for a margin on revenue of 32.2%, vs 33.2% in H1 2019 on the basis of revenue down 12.2% at €679 million.

Cost of sales, mainly the remuneration of distributors, was down 13.6% due to the drop in stakes in points of sale, while the slight increase of 6.6% in marketing and communication expenses to €65 million reflects the continued development of the product offering, partly offset by the reduction in advertising and promotional expenses.

  • Sports betting: contribution margin of 31.3%, an increase of 7 points due to the low PPO ratio

The Sports Betting BU’s contribution margin was €45 million in H1 2020, almost stable compared with the same period in 2019 (€48 million), i.e. a margin on revenue of 31.3%, up more than 7 points compared with the first half of 2019 (24.3%). Based on a drop of 38.8% in stakes, the lower half-yearly PPO ratio than in the first half of 2019 (73.1% vs 77.7%) helped limit to €50 million the decline in revenue (-25.7%) to €145 million.

The 39.3% reduction in cost of sales reflects trends in stakes, while the 15.8% decline in marketing and communication expenses to €34 million is related to the reduction in advertising and promotional initiatives against the backdrop of a reduced product offering.

  • Adjacent activities and holding company

Adjacent activities (International, Payments & Services and Entertainment) and the holding company recorded revenue of €24 million, with a contribution margin close to breakeven. Holding company costs amounted to €89 million, down €9 million compared with H1 2019.

  • EBITDA margin of 20.5%, virtually stable thanks in large part to the implementation of a savings plan of more than €80 million

From the onset of the health crisis and its first effects, the Group implemented a savings plan of more than €80 million for 2020. Two-thirds of the plan, more than half of which covered A&P expenditure, was implemented in H1, helping offset more than half of the decline in activity and thereby helping keep FDJ’s EBITDA margin above 20%.

The Group’s operating expenses were down 12.5% at €725 million, of which:

  • Cost of sales of €482 million, down 17.6%, which notably includes the remuneration of €336 million for distributors, down €88 million (-21%), in line with the decline in stakes in the point-of-sale network;
  • Marketing and communication expenses of €147 million, down nearly 2%;
  • General and administrative expenses of €87 million, down 7%.

Depreciation and amortisation amounted to €50 million, compared with €43 million in H1 2019. Their growth was driven mainly by the amortisation of exclusive operating rights over a full half-year in 2020, compared with a single month in H1 2019.

On those bases, the FDJ Group recorded a recurring operating profit of €124 million (-24.9%) and EBITDA of €174 million (-16.4%), i.e. a margin on revenue of 20.5%, compared with 20.9% in June 2019.

  • Net income of €50 million including non-recurring items

In the first half of 2020, FDJ recorded other non-recurring operating expenses of €30 million, compared with €7 million in the first half of 2019. They related to Sporting Group, on which FDJ recorded impairment due to its sports betting activity in the United Kingdom.

The financial result for the first half of 2020 (expense of €5 million) reflects the change in the value of part of FDJ’s financial assets in a context of bearish financial markets.

After taking into account a net tax expense of €39 million, down €5 million, the Group’s net profit for the first half of 2020 was €50 million.

  • Available cash exceeding €800 million and net cash surplus of €298 million at end-June 2020

At the end of June 2020, the Group had more than €800 million in available cash.

The net cash surplus is one of the indicators of the level of net cash generated by the Group. It corresponds mainly to financial investments and gross cash (€1,154 million), less borrowings (€733 million).

As of 30 June 2020, it amounted to €298 million, an increase of €218 million compared with 31 December 2019. The change was mainly attributable to:

  • The EBITDA generated over the half-year, plus a dual positive effect on working capital surplus linked on the one hand to the change in the payment schedule for public levies (monthly in 2020 but weekly in 2019) and on the other hand to unclaimed prizes only returned to the State at the end of the year;
  • Against which are charged dividends in respect of 2019 and investments for the first half of the year. 

For information, the net cash surplus at the end of June cannot be extrapolated to the end of December because there are significant calendar effects on the payments of public levies, including an advance on public levies in December.

A financial presentation is available on the FDJ group’s website

FDJ’s Board of Directors met on 29 July 2020 and reviewed the interim consolidated financial statements at 30 June 2020, which were prepared under its responsibility. The limited review procedures on the interim consolidated financial statements have been carried out. The review report of the statutory auditors is being issued.

The Group’s next financial communication

Given the changing nature of the situation, the estimates and forward-looking statement presented by FDJ cannot constitute either a forecast or a target. The Group will announce its stakes and revenue for the September quarter after trading on 14 October and will issue its new 2020 outlook as soon as possible.

[1] Restated to reflect the new tax regime that came into force on 1 January 2020 and consolidating Sporting Group on a full-year basis. Based on 2019 reported figures, half-year revenue would have been down 10%.

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