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Australia – Aristocrat withdraws financial guidance as Covid-19 closes land-based sector

By - 19 March 2020

Aristocrat Leisure has said that ‘given continuing uncertainty as to the extent and duration of the impacts of COVID-19,’ it is withdrawing its Outlook Statement provided at the Annual General Meeting in February 2020.

This includes the statement that “Aristocrat plans for continued NPATA growth in the 2020 fiscal year.” The company said it will provide further updates as likely impacts become clearer.

It said: “In global land-based markets, softer demand is becoming evident as a number of customers initiate temporary venue closures and adopt a more cautious approach to capital expenditure. Digital bookings are unaffected at this time. As shared at the company’s Annual General Meeting in February 2020, the Group has been monitoring and putting in place appropriate responses to COVID-19 for several months, beginning with its Macau and Asia Pacific operations. Aristocrat is executing comprehensive short and longer term risk management and mitigation plans, with the intention to position the business to emerge from the challenges caused by COVID19 as quickly and strongly as possible.”

“The health and well-being of staff, their families and the broader communities in which we operate remains Aristocrat’s first priority. In addition to implementing broad travel bans and social distancing measures across our global operations, well over 80 per cent of Aristocrat’s more than 6,400 staff members are currently being
supported to work from home, consistent with the advice of local health authorities.

“The Group’s outstanding fundamentals continue to underpin our strategy and long-term confidence. Aristocrat has a conservatively geared balance sheet, with a net debt to EBITDA ratio of 1.4x (as at 30 September 2019). In addition, Aristocrat’s term loan facility is not due until October 2024 and is covenant lite, providing
significant financial flexibility.

“The diversity of Aristocrat’s operations adds to the Group’s strength and flexibility. Over the 2019 financial year, Digital games delivered over 40% of total Group revenue, while Land Based gaming operations and outright sales contributed around another 30 per cent each. Operations are also spread across key global and regional markets, and our Digital and Land Based businesses are addressing a broader range of segments and genres than ever before.

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