Entain Plc has outlined key initiatives to accelerate its operational strategy and improve the quality of earnings across its business portfolio.
The new plans were disclosed in Entain’s Q3 trading update, as the FTSE100 gambling group reported proforma net gaming revenue (NGR) declines across its Online and Retail units.
Q3 trading is tracked to the revised full-year EBITDA guidance of £1bn-£1.05bn as announced on 25 September, in which investors were informed of aggravating factors impacting period performance.
The update saw Entain report 7% NGR growth on a total group basis (including US results). However, excluding US activities, Q3 group proforma NGR reported a 5% drop.
Though trading in-line with corporate expectations, Entain posted a second consecutive quarter of online NGR declines, registering a 6% fall in online NGR on a proforma basis.
As previously disclosed, Q3 trading saw the firm’s sports betting unit account for a negative ‘two-to-three ppt impact from customer-friendly sports results recorded in September’, as the unit recorded a 15% proforma NGR slump.
Period headwinds were offset by the online gaming unit registering 1% proforma NGR growth. Of note, Entain maintained strong online KPIs detailed by growth in active customers of 26% YoY (10% proforma)
Robust trading was declared by the firm’s Retail unit, witnessing a 4% increase in like-for-like NGR, which remained consistent on constant currency; however, on a proforma basis, the unit recorded a 4% NGR decline.
In the US, BetMGM continued to perform strongly with Q3 NGR of approximately $458m, up 15% on 2022 comparatives.
Strong prospects were outlined for Entain’s US joint-venture, which remains on track to hit its full-year elevated guidance of $1.8-$2.0bn alongside expected EBITDA positive results in H2 2023.
Corporate leadership declared that a new operational strategy is needed for Entain to align structures “to best position the Group to capitalise on future growth opportunities and deliver shareholder value”.
Headline directives will see Entain streamline its market portfolio to “enhance organic growth and return on investment”, prioritising expansion in high growth, under-penetrated markets such as the US, Brazil, Central and Eastern Europe, and New Zealand.
In established markets such as the UK, Australia, Italy, Germany, and the Baltics, Entain will revise its operations for profitable growth and exit smaller non-core operations.
Providing a new long-term outlook, Entain plans to achieve a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 7% from 2025, aligning with market expectations.
Long-term objectives see Entain initiate ‘Project Romer’, to optimise group assets in order to achieve an online EBITDA margin of 28% by 2026 and 30% by 2028.
The project marks an organisational simplification of Entain’s structure to enhance operational leverage and drive cost efficiencies, anticipating gross cost savings of £100m with target net savings of £70m by 2025.
Jette Nygaard-Andersen, Entain’s CEO, commented: “Entain has undergone a profound transformation over the last few years, and now has strong foundations from which to move into its next phase of growth.
“We have made significant investments in responsible gambling initiatives. While these steps have impacted EBITDA, they are unquestionably the right thing to do to improve our long-term prospects.
“The wide range of initiatives that are underway will cement our position as a customer-focused industry leader, enable us to achieve our strategic ambitions, and deliver enhanced returns for all our stakeholders.”