Ladbrokes owner Entain expands into CEE; H1 revenues rise
Ladbrokes owner Entain announced a new drive to expand into Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) on Thursday and the acquisition of a Croatian sportsbook operator, as it posted a rise in first-half net gaming revenue.
The company said it has partnered with EMMA, a leading investment firm based in the Czech Republic, to establish a new venture - Entain CEE - to drive expansion in the region. Entain will own 75 % of the economic rights in Entain CEE, which has agreed to buy Croatian gaming and sportsbook operator SuperSport for €600m in cash.
There is also a further contingent payment of around €90m due to be made to EMMA early next year, based on SuperSport's EBITDA for the financial year ending 2022.
In its results for the six months to 30 June, Entain posted an 18% increase in total net gaming revenues to £2.1bn and a 20% rise in underlying operating profit to £246.5m. However, underlying pre-tax profit declined to £152.4m from £246.7m.
Online NGR fell 7% during the half. Entain said this reflects strong prior year comparators driven by Covid lockdowns, temporary closure in the Netherlands, affordability measures in the UK and customers responding to the economic backdrop.
Chief executive Jette Nygaard-Andersen said: "We continue to make excellent progress on our strategic priorities, with momentum in our business remaining strong as a result of putting the customer at the heart of everything we do. I am delighted that more customers are choosing to play with us as we focus on providing them with even better products, engaging content and exciting experiences.
"This has resulted in our highest ever level of actives in H1, up 57% versus the same period two years ago. Not only is this approach great for our customers, but it also provides us with a broader, more recreational customer base that will support more sustainable long-term revenues."