FDJ acquires Premier Lotteries Ireland

Double boost for FDJ as Irish lotteries acquired and H1 revenue hits €1.3bn

FDJ Group has further expanded its international operations through the acquisition of the Irish National lottery, whilst also reporting a strong trading performance throughout H1 2023.

Française des jeux reported year-on-year revenue growth of 6% to €1.3bn (€1.2bn), accompanied by recurring EBITDA of €300m, representing a margin of 23.3% although a decline of 3% on €308m recorded in H1 2022.

A product breakdown saw a 10% increase in sports betting and online gaming revenue to €257m (€231.3m). FDJ is the state-backed operator of France’s national lottery but also maintains a leading position in betting and gaming.

Meanwhile, lottery revenue grew by just 1% to €958m (€948m), with the operator attributing this to a ‘low number’ of Loto and Euromillions jackpots in H1. This undermined ‘momentum in digital stakes’, FDJ explained, although the group did cite ‘good activity’ in retail and online operations, with stakes up 3% and 13% respectively.

Stéphane Pallez, Chairwoman and CEO of the FDJ Group, said: “FDJ recorded solid results in the first half of the year, driven by a good increase in stakes in our network of 30,000 points of sale, a sustained dynamic in digital stakes and the integration of new activities.”

The group closes H1 with net income of €181m, a 13% increase on corresponding 2022 results of €157.5m. However, perhaps of greatest significance is the group’s acquisition of Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI).

FDJ has lauded this development as a ‘major step’ in its international strategy. The group has been working on cross-border growth from its headquarters in Boulogne for some time, notably acquiring Dutch betting operator ZETurf in November 2022.

The agreement has made FDJ the operator of the Irish National Lottery until 2034, although it is still subject to certain conditions such as the approval of the Irish lottery regulator.

FDJ expects to secure this approval in H2 2023, but highly anticipates the financial contribution the integration of PLI will make to its operations. The firm has cited PLI’s 2022 GGR of €399m, revenue of €140m and a ‘comparable’ EBITDA margin with FDJ.

Pallez continued: “I am also delighted with the acquisition of Premier Lotteries Ireland, the operator of the Irish national lottery and a long-standing partner in the Euromillions community. Becoming the operator of a foreign lottery marks another major step in the FDJ Group’s international development.”

PLI has been the operator of Ireland’s National Lottery since 2014 and, until this week’s sale to FDJ, was a holding of the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan (OTTP). 

As well as an expansion of FDJ’s international reach, the sale also marks a further downsizing of the OTTP’s lottery properties, with the investment fund having sold Camelot UK – the outgoing operator of the UK National Lottery – to incoming British licence holder Allwyn.

Following the takeover agreement and positive H1 trading results, FDJ has updated its financial targets for 2023, setting goals of 5% revenue growth and a consistent recurring EBITDA margin of 24%.

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