German lottery provider Zeal Network has achieved further growth in the first nine months of 2021, despite experiencing weaker jackpots.
In the first nine months of 2021, billings of the Zeal Group rose by 5% to EUR 493.2 million (2020: EUR 471.8 million), of which the Germany segment accounted for almost the entire amount (2020: EUR 470.9 million). Revenue increased by 1% to EUR 65.1 million (2020: EUR 64.5 million), of which EUR 61.5 million was attributable to the Germany segment (2020: EUR 58.4 million). At 12.2%, the gross margin in the Germany segment was thus stable compared to the prior-year figure (2020: 12.3%).
The market environment for lotteries in Germany during the first nine months of 2021 was comparatively weak: the jackpot of the European lottery “Eurojackpot” only reached the EUR 90 million mark three times (2020: six times), while the mandatory payout mark for the German lottery “LOTTO 6aus49”, set at EUR 45 million since 23 September 2020, was not reached at all (2020: three times). Low jackpots have a negative effect on Billings, gross margin and new customer acquisition.
Despite this market environment, the Company gained 446 thousand new registered customers in the Germany segment (2020: 787 thousand) and the acquisition costs per new registered customer (cost per lead, CPL) of EUR 27.57 (2020: EUR 27.58) were maintained at the previous year’s level. At EUR 18.6 million, marketing expenses in the first nine months of 2021 were below the prior-year level (2020: EUR 25.3 million) as a result of the significantly weaker jackpot development.
Personnel expenses and other operating expenses of EUR 14.5 million and EUR 33.2 million, respectively, were also well below the corresponding prior-year figures (2020: EUR 16.6 million and EUR 43.0 million). As a result of adjusting marketing expenses to the jackpot environment, Zeal significantly improved the profitability: for example, adjusted EBITDA for the first nine months of 2021 rose to EUR 17.6 million (2020: EUR 6.9 million) The Germany segment accounted for EUR 16.6 million of this amount (2020: EUR 5.2 million). EBIT and net profit of EUR 11.1 million and EUR 7.3 million, respectively, were also well above the prior-year figures (2020: EUR 2.9 million and EUR 6.6 million).
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