Catena Media boosts casino offering to offset sports shortfall

Stockholm-listed industry publisher Catena Media has revealed that it is sourcing ‘alternative revenue streams’ for its sports division, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt global sports fixtures.

Publishing a trading update for January – February 2020, Catena Media revealed that sports accounted for 35% off its revenues generated during the period, which saw a 5.7% overall increase from €17.1m to €18m.

The casino segment represented 59% of the company’s revenues during the first two months in 2020, while financial services revenues represented 5%.

Addressing the shortfall in sports events, Catena Media said: “Due to the halt of several sports leagues, and postponement of major events across the globe, Catena Media is working closely with key operators to promote Sports events that are still running.

“To mitigate the shortfall in Sports revenue, the focus is to increase the Casino business by converting traffic from a number of sports-related sites into Casino revenue and holding back on low-margin media spend.”

The company emphasised that it is ‘closely following the global development of COVID-19 and its potential impact on the business’, and predicts that the outbreak ‘will have no foreseeable negative long-term effects’.

Catena anticipated that the widespread postponement of sports fixtures ‘may contribute with a positive effect in the future when they are rescheduled.’

Per Hellberg, CEO at Catena Media, commented: “The world is facing an unusual and challenging situation due to COVID-19. Catena Media’s largest business segment, Casino, represented 73% of EBITDA during January and February, is performing well and shows a positive development under the current circumstances.

“Several sport events have been cancelled or postponed, and it is uncertain for how long this will last, but we are holding back on costs and finding alternative revenue streams for the Sport segment. Provided that the sports events start up after the summer break, our target remains unchanged, to reach double-digit profitable growth in 2020.”

EBITDA for the two-month period increased 16.6% year-on-year to €8.6m, an increase from €7.4m.

During the two-month period, Catena Media had not made any major investments, resulting in cash and cash equivalents of €19.2m and a net interest-bearing debt position of €162.5m.

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