SBC News Komarek eyes Sazka IPO as National Lottery judgement looms

Komarek eyes Sazka IPO as National Lottery judgement looms

KKCG Group owner Karel Komarek is interested in launching an Initial Public Offering (IPO) of the Sazka Group gambling asset, with London touted as a potential listing location, According to Bloomberg.

KKCG, the holding group behind Sazka, is allegedly working with advisers on an IPO of the international lottery operator, which could take place in the second half of 2021 according to Bloomberg sources.

The listing will also receive the support of US-based multinational investment firm Apollo Global Management, which purchased a €500 million stake in Sazka in March of this year, resulting in KKCG receiving €200 million.

However, the notion is still under review, meaning  no final decisions have been made and plans could still be delayed, whilst no comment has been made by a representative of the company or from KKCG.

The announcement comes as Sazka prepares for the Fourth National Lottery Licence competition, having launched Allwyn as a UK-based brand to head its bid.

Facing opposition from incumbent National Lottery operator Camelot, Italy’s Sisal and India’s Sugal & Daman, Sazka’s position in the contest has been bolstered by the support of telecommunications giant vadafone.

Additionally, the firm has also strengthened its board ahead of the bidding contest with the additions of former Tote Managing Director David Craven, Dr Mark Griffiths, Twitter UK Managing Director Dara Nasr, Amanda Horton-Mastin, Justin King CBE, Brent Hoberman CBE and Charles Garland to its advisory board.

Based in Prague, Sazka operates lotteries in the Czech Republic, Austria, Cyprus, Greece and Italy, recording a total of €6.8 billion in bets last year across a range of verticals not just limited to lotteries, including sports betting, online gaming and scratch-cards.

Total group revenue for 2020 amounted to €2 billion for the 2020 trading year – a 6% increase on the 2019 figures – although venue closures and COVID-19 restrictions had some impact on operations, with GGR declining by 26%.

Of particular concern was the closure of the majority of OPAP retail venues in Greece, whilst in Austria the operator continued to face difficulties as its CASAG outlets remained under government-mandated lockdown orders.

Despite the limitations of last year, the group has recorded a positive start to 2021. Overcoming ongoing COVID-19 obstacles, Q1 gaming revenue increased 30% from the same period in 2020 to €526 million.

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