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FDJ snaps up Premier Lotteries Ireland in €350m deal

| By iGB Editorial Team
French national lottery operator Française des Jeux Group (FDJ) is acquiring Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI) in a €350.0m (£299.5m/$383.8m) deal.
France ANJ

FDJ expects the acquisition from Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, An Post and An Post Pension Fund, to be completed this year. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals.

It also requires the backing of the Irish National Lottery, which PLI operates.

Takeover talks progressed after a sales process was launched back in March, an FDJ spokesperson told iGaming Business.

The deal was confirmed as FDJ released its H1 figures, showing half-yearly revenue of €1.28bn – a 6.3% year-on-year increase. The rise was largely driven by a 10.5% increase in sports betting and online gaming revenue to €257m.

Lottery revenue growth was a modest 1% to €958.0m in H1 after an 11% increase in 2022. Despite a 2.3% uplift in stakes, FDJ said that lottery sales were dampened by fewer big Loto and Euromillions jackpots.

However, FDJ expects the PLI acquisition to boost the vertical’s future performance.

In 2022, PLI posted gross gaming revenue of €399m and revenue of €140m. Accordingly, this produced a comparable earnings margin to that of FDJ – of more than 5% over the year.

Premier Lotteries Ireland

PLI holds the exclusive operating rights to the Irish National Lottery through to 2034 in a 20-year deal. That licence will remain unaffected by the takeover, PLI said.

“The Irish National Lottery is and will continue to be, owned by the Irish state for the benefit of good causes,” PLI added. “[It will be] regulated by the regulator of the National Lottery and operated by Premier Lotteries Ireland DAC. We would like to assure you that the National Lottery games will continue as usual.”

FDJ chairwoman and CEO Stéphane Pallez expressed her delight with the takeover of “a long-standing partner in the Euromillions community.”

She added: “Becoming the operator of a foreign lottery marks another major step in the FDJ Group’s international development.”

Solid results

H1 revenue was calculated from a 2.4% increase in gross gaming revenue (GGR) to €3.295bn minus €2.082bn in public levies. Additionally, the revenue figure included €71m of income from other activities.

FDJ said that its financial statements would include GGR from now on “to ensure improved comparability”.

Pallez added: “FDJ recorded solid results in the first half of the year, driven by a good increase in stakes in our network of 30,000 points of sale, a sustained dynamic in digital stakes and the integration of new activities.”

Online stakes increased by 13% year-on-year in H1, with point-of-sale stakes up by 3%.

Sports betting’s strong performance was attributed to post-Fifa World Cup momentum and a more extensive football calendar.

Financial income

Financial income improved from a deficit of €22m in H1 2022 to a positive result of €19m in 2023. The financial income increase reflecting the rise in interest rates and a favourable market environment.

The group’s tax expense was €65m, representing an effective tax rate of 26.8% over H1 2023. Accordingly, consolidated net profit amounted to €181m – up 13.5% year-on-year.

Net cash surplus was €941m at the end of June in comparison with €900m at the end of 2022.

This week, France’s gambling regulator l’Autorité Nationale des Jeux revealed record GGR of €12.9bn in the country last year. FDJ and fellow monopoly holder Pari-Mutuel Urbain contributed €8.20bn of the total.

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