Zeal Group shows growth in first half of 2017
ZEAL Group had a solid first half of 2017 and laid the foundations for further growth, driving forward the Group’s internationalisation strategy. Our Business-to-Consumer (B2C) segment continued to perform well against key performance indicators. Billings, Average Monthly Active Users (MAU) and Total Operating Performance (TOP) all increased. In addition, the Group further pursues its internationalisation strategy and the extension of its product portfolio.
In May 2017, ZEAL invested EUR 1.9 million in the Los Angeles based start-up Omaze Inc. Omaze offers an international non-licenced social prize competition. It targets the emerging millennial generation and transforms charitable giving, offering once-in-a-lifetime experiences. In June 2017, ZEAL successfully launched a Norway charity lottery product in beta in partnership with UNICEF Norway. For the next half year, the Group plans to roll out an innovative social lottery in the Netherlands under its Lottovate licence. Furthermore, the Group is applying for a lottery licence in Czech Republic.
The Group expanded its product portfolio and strengthened its B2C business by launching two new exciting products: “Danke Million” and “Cash4Life”, both of which have shown a promising start.
Billings increased by EUR 3.4 million (+3%) to EUR 136.4 million in the six month period ended 30 June (2016: EUR 133.0 million). This, together with a reduction in exceptional prize pay-outs of EUR 2.0 million compared to the prior period, drove the year on year increase in TOP of 6% to EUR 65.0 million (2016: EUR 61.4 million).
In the first six months, EBIT decreased from EUR 10.3 million last year to EUR 7.9 million this year, primarily due to investments in marketing activities, higher personnel costs and higher hedging expenses.
Average MAU increased 7% to 387k for 2017, compared to the corresponding period in the prior year and confirms the currently intensified marketing activities within the group. Average Billings Per User (ABPU) decreased slightly to EUR 55.24 (2016: EUR 57.26), influenced by new users and a shift in the product mix.
Dr Helmut Becker, Chief Executive Officer of ZEAL: “In the first half of the year, we made good progress and stayed fully in line with our internationalisation strategy. Later this year, we expect to receive a licence to operate in the Czech Republic. Our innovative lottery products and long-standing experience help us to make successful new market entries. At the same time, we further push the expansion of our B2C product portfolio and make strategic investments, including our stake in Omaze.”
ZEAL’s strategic outlook for 2017 remains unchanged.
The strategic outlook of ZEAL remains unchanged with attractive growth opportunities in its target markets. The Group is in a good position to further capitalise on opportunities arising from changes to regulatory conditions as well as from the relatively low internet penetration of the lottery industry.
The expectation for TOP in 2017 ranges between EUR 130-140 million and therefore stays in line with the revised guidance provided in March. The expectation for the consolidated EBIT is unaltered between EUR 15-25 million. ZEAL confirms its intention to pay out a total dividend of at least EUR 1.00 per share for the current financial year. This position is subject to periodic review and may be amended depending on the Group’s future earnings and financial position.