OPAP, the Greek gaming operator, had a good year last year. Partially due to its further acquisition of Stoixman, the company reported a 36.2% year-on-year gain in gross gaming revenue.
OPAP had a strong financial position in 2021, leading to an increase in profitability and significant benefits for shareholders. The good news came during the presentation of the operator’s financial results for the whole year to analysts.
The improved performance was the result, in part, of OPAP’s deal with Stoixman. The company already owned a portion of the sports betting operator, but spent the past two years buying the rest. Its stronger position in Greece and Europe will continue to drive revenue higher.
OPAP Grows its Gaming Operations
OPAP’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) for FY2021 stood at nearly €1.54 billion (US$1.7 billion), growth of more than 36.2% from the previous year. In the fourth quarter, GGR reached €498.5 million (US$546.65 million).
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for 2021 reached €550.3 million (US$604.67 million, for a year-on-year gain of 111.1%. Fourth-quarter EBITDA reached €170.4 million ($187.2 million).
Overall, the fourth quarter of 2021 was historically among the best-performing ones, in terms of GGR, and the company’s cash balances strengthened further,” stated OPAP CEO Jan Karas.
Net profit for 2021 stood at €259.4 million (US$285 million), 26.4% higher than the previous year. In addition, the fourth quarter’s net profit was €86.1 million (US$94.6 million).
As a result, the Board of Directors of OPAP proposed the distribution of a gross dividend of €0.50 (US$0.55) per share at the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders. Together with the already distributed interim dividend of €0.10 (US$0.11), the dividend for 2021 amounts to €0.60 (US$0.66) per share.
In addition, the Board proposed to the AGM the distribution of €0.90 (US$0.99) per share as capital return. In total, the shareholders’ remuneration for the financial year 2021 amounts to €1.50 (US$1.65) per share.
Resiliency and Recovery Drive Results
Jan Karas, OPAP’s CEO, highlighted the “resilient performance” of the company’s retail activities as a factor for last year’s success. As he pointed out, despite the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the recovery of the retail network accelerated.
A key role was played by the company’s comprehensive commercial plan and initiatives that focused on the customer’s entertainment and digitalization. Among other things, the OPAP Rewards loyalty program met great acceptance, with approximately 600,000 registered customers at the end of 2021 and particularly high levels of active users.
In addition, Karas stood on the new OPAP Store App. This upgrades the digital experience in OPAP, allowing customers to play and collect their profits digitally, without visiting the company’s retail establishments. The pilot phase is completed, and the full operation of the application will start within the second quarter of 2022.
Moreover, the digital upgrade of the network continues dynamically, as more than 1,100 agencies have already installed smart digital infrastructure and modern audiovisual equipment. Also, the company further strengthened its product portfolio by including new options in Powerspin and Pame Stoixima, upgrading virtual games and optimizing video lottery terminals.
Online Activity Growing
Online activity continued to be a key driver of growth. OPAP’s online customer base developed further, thanks to the enhancement of online products, upgraded front-end environments, and targeted CRM activities.
Karas focused on the recent presentation of the renewed live casino of the Pamestoixima.gr platform. This offers a sophisticated gaming experience and Greek dealers at live interactive tables. He also highlighted the availability of Virtuals+, which offers customers the widest variety of virtual sports.
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