ZEAL grows online despite revenue decline
ZEAL Network Germany’s leading online provider of state-licensed and other lotteries, has exceeded in particular the guidance for adjusted EBITDA in fiscal year 2020, which was most recently increased in October 2020.
Supported, among other things, by the good jackpot development of the German lottery ‘LOTTO 6aus49’ in the fourth quarter of 2020, continued high marketing investments led to higher than expected growth in billings and revenue. In addition, consistent cost management supported the improvement in adjusted EBITDA.
Due to the full consolidation of LOTTO24 and the positive jackpot development, billings in fiscal year 2020 increased by 40 percent (preliminary) to EUR 652.8 million (2019: EUR 466,7 Mio.), thus exceeding the latest guidance of EUR 610 million to EUR 630 million.
The comparability of the prior-year figures is affected by the discontinuation of the secondary lottery business due to the business model change in October 2019 and the only partial consolidation of the LOTTO24 billings (14 May to 31 December 2019).
Although revenue fell by 23 percent (preliminary) year-on-year to EUR 86.9 million (2019: EUR 113.5 million), largely due to the expected revenue dis-synergies in connection with the business model change, it was also above the guidance of between EUR 80 million and EUR 83 million.
As with billings, the 2019 revenue still included the secondary lottery business but not the online lottery brokerage business of LOTTO24 up to 14 May 2019 and is therefore also only comparable to a limited extent.
ZEAL took advantage of the good market and jackpot environment in order to invest into new customer acquisition. As a result, marketing costs increased by EUR 10.5 (preliminary) to EUR 32.2 million (2019: EUR 21.7 million). At the same time ZEAL further reduced the sum of other costs and in the fourth quarter of 2020 for the first time realised the 100 percent of cost synergies originally planned to be achieved by May 2021.
As an expected result of revenue dis-synergies caused by the business model change, ZEAL’s adjusted EBITDA of EUR 12.4 million (preliminary) was still below the prior-year figure (2019: EUR 29.4 million) but significantly above the already increased guidance of EUR 8 million to EUR 10 million.