Fortuna responding to Slovakia changes

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Fortuna reported a strong trading performance in the third quarter as it continues to respond to regulatory changes in Slovakia.

In a trading update, the European fixed-odds betting company announced that operating profit in the third quarter was €8.7m ($9.5m), up 25.3 per cent year-on-year. The figure is in sharp contrast to the same indicator in Q1 2015, when a figure of €7.4m was 21-per-cent down on the same period in 2014 due to the abolishment of the handling fee on online betting in Slovakia.

However, while Fortuna has seen double-digit growth in total amounts staked and online gross win so far this year, operating profit for the first nine months is down 19.6 per cent compared to the same period in 2014.

“We are pleased to report on solid profitable growth for the first nine months of 2015 despite no big sport events such as the Fifa World Cup 2014 as well as the abolishment of the online handling fee in Slovakia,” said Per Widerstrom, chief executive of Fortuna, which operates in the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia.

“The main driver of our performance was expansion of internet and mobile sports betting in all Fortuna’s markets. Finally, our full-year guidance for 2015 remains the same.”

Total amounts staked in the first nine months increased by 25.1 per cent to €615.1m, while total gross win went up by 8.1 per cent to €105.0m and gross win from online sports betting increased by 23.8 per cent to €60m.

Sports betting earnings represented €17.2m, down 21.7 per cent year-on-year, while lottery earnings were €521,000, up 520.2 per cent.

Fortuna declared earlier this year that it would not be paying a dividend to shareholders in 2015 “due to the planned investments into future growth opportunities”.

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