Ladbrokes owner Entain lifts FY profit expectations
Entain lifted its full-year profit expectations on Wednesday as it reported a record fourth quarter for both net gaming revenues and active customers.
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The Ladbrokes owner now forecasts FY22 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of between £985m and £995m, up around 12% year-on-year and ahead of previous expectations of £925m to £975m.
The company said fourth-quarter net gaming revenue rose 11%. It was a record quarter for the online segment, which saw NGR grow 12% year-on-year, reflecting a successful men's World Cup, partly offset by weather disruptions to sporting fixtures.
Entain hailed continued growth in active customers, also at record levels, up 14% on the prior year. Meanwhile, NGR in the retail business increased 10%, with UK volumes driven by strong growth in gaming and betting terminals.
FY22 NGR is expected to have risen 12%, Entain said, with online NGR down 1% - reflecting strong Covid comparators and the absorption of regulatory changes, particularly in the UK and Germany - and retail NGR ahead 66%.
Chief executive Jette Nygaard-Andersen said: "2022 has been another year of strong financial, operational and strategic progress for Entain. We have continued to grow our revenues in a sustainable and diversified way by expanding our global footprint, broadening our customer appeal, entering new areas of entertainment, and providing a safe environment for our customers.
"All of this has led to a record number of active customers in Q4, as well as a full year EBITDA performance ahead of our previous expectations.
"We have started 2023 with good momentum across the business and remain confident in our ability to continue delivering on our growth and sustainability strategy in the year ahead."
At 0815 GMT, the shares were up 2.2% at 1,520.50p.
Matt Britzman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "Entain saw record fourth quarter gaming revenue and a spike in active customers as the winter World Cup gave punters plenty to sink their teeth in to. It’s no real surprise to see annual figures heavily biased toward the retail division growth, as performance laps times when betting shops were shut due to lockdowns.
"There were always concerns that the lockdown-induced boom for online betting would simply shift back to physical stores, but that doesn’t seem to be the case - online revenue is down a touch but remains well ahead of pre-pandemic levels."