The Entain share price moved higher on Wednesday after the gambling business raised its forecasts for 2022.
The FTSE 100 share said that last year’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) would range between £985 million and £995 million. This is a significant upgrade from the previous estimate of £925 million to £975 million, and would represent annual earnings growth of roughly 12%.
At £15.15 per share Entain’s shares were last 1.9% higher in midweek trading.
World Cup Drives Online Revenues
Entain hiked its profits forecasts following a strong final quarter of last year. Net gaming revenues (NGRs) then rose 11% year on year, it said, or 7% on a constant currency basis.
Online revenues rose 12% and hit record levels thanks to the success of the men’s FIFA World Cup. This offsets the impact of weather disruptions to sporting fixtures.
The number of active customers also hit all-time highs in the fourth quarter. This increased 14% from the same 2021 period.
Meanwhile, NGRs at its retail outlets like Ladbrokes and Coral increased 10%. Entain said that its improved shop revenues were “driven by strong growth in gaming and betting terminals.”
Rebounding Retail Propels Full-Year NGRs
For the full year Entain said that net gaming revenues were up 12% in 2022, or 10% stripping out currency effects.
This was powered by rebounding turnover at its betting shops following the end of pandemic-related lockdowns. Retail NGRs leapt 66% in the full year as the business enjoyed “volumes ahead of pre-Covid levels, market share gains and a broadening customer base.”
Online NGRs were down 1% year on year due to “strong Covid comparators and the absorption of regulatory changes,” Entain said. It commented that the latter issue was particularly disruptive in its UK and German markets.
Still, Entain noted that the number of active customers increased 7% year on year thanks to “strong progress on the strategic broadening of customer appeal.”
A Year Of Progress
Entain chief executive Jette Nygaard-Andersen described 2022 as “another year of strong financial, operational and strategic progress.”
She commented that “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.”
Matt Britzman, analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, noted that predictions of trouble for Entains betting shops have failed to materialise. He said that “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.”
Britzman added that “online revenue is down a touch but remains well ahead of pre-pandemic levels.”
Elsewhere, he described Entain’s BetMGM joint venture in the US as “a shining star.” NGRs here soared 71% last year, ahead of the company’s expectations.
Britzman continued that “the real question here is how long this will remain a joint venture, it seems unlikely both parties will want to continue their US gambling exposure in its current form indefinitely.”
He predicted that MGM will make a bid to take full control of the unit.