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France – Casino closures ‘mask dynamic start’ to the year for SFC

By - 4 August 2020

The Société Française de Casinos (SFC) has said that the fight against the spread of COVID-19 put an end to a ‘dynamic start’ for the French casino operator in 2020.

The results unfortunately ‘reflect the activity of the four casinos operated by the group, in Gruissan, Châtel-Guyon, Port la Nouvelle and Collioure’ marked ‘by the closure from March 15, for four and a half months, as part of the fight against the pandemic Covid-19. The group recorded growth on a like-for-like basis of 14.3 per cent, ‘before this abrupt cessation of activity.’

The group recorded turnover of €7.4m, which was only really achieved between November 1, 2019 and March 14, 2020 (equating to 4.5 months instead of six months). The casinos reopened only on June 2, 2020.

The operator said it ‘has limited its costs as much as possible during the period when the casinos were closed. Almost all of the employees were placed on short-time work and the Group benefited in particular from rent relief throughout the period of closure.’

Half-year EBITDA stood at €1m, very close to that of the first half of 2018 to 2019 on a like-for-like basis. After the half-year closing, the group obtained a State Guaranteed Loan (PGE) of €2m from a banking partner, which strengthens cash flow at attractive conditions. SFC said it has a healthy and solid financial structure that allows it to operate in these unprecedented times with confidence and serenity. The Group’s casinos, all located in the green zone, reopened on June 2 ‘with activity initially limited to slot machines and electronic games in compliance with strict health rules. Catering activities reopened a week later, followed on June 22 by traditional table games. The first returns in attendance and consumption since the reopening are encouraging, with an increasing level of activity compared to the same period of the previous year.’

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