William Malcolm

Komarek Revives IPO Plan For Sazka Group

Czech billionaire Karel Komárek has revived a plan to list the gambling company Sazka Group on the stock exchange. His multinational investment group KKCG is consulting on the move and the initial public offering of shares (IPO) could take place in the second half of this year. The listing of Sazka on the London Stock Exchange is under discussion, Bloomberg sources said today.

Sazka is the oldest lottery company in the Czech Republic with a share of more than 90 percent in the market of lotteries and similar games. The company’s main lottery products are number lotteries with the most famous game Sportka. In addition to the Czech Republic, it also operates in Greece, Austria, Italy, and Cyprus. According to last year’s report, customers bet 6.8 billion euros (almost 176 billion CZK) with it, says Bloomberg.

At the end of 2020, one of the world’s largest investment funds, Apollo Global Management, entered Sazka with an investment of $ 500 million (CZK 10.9 billion). Last year, the lottery company’s net profit fell by 23.5 percent year on year to 1.24 billion crowns. Revenues increased by 13.6 percent to 8.85 billion crowns.

Sazka announced in 2017 that it had hired banks to sell the shares in London. In the course of 2018, however, it gradually abandoned the plan. The conditions on the stock exchanges at that time deteriorated, especially at the end of the year. Since then, it has grown and at the end of 2019 it managed to consolidate control over the Austrian casino and lottery operator Casinos Austria.

According to Trinity Bank analyst Lukáš Kovanda, the KKCG lottery business has been hit hard by a pandemic. Sazka was particularly affected by the closure of branches of the Greek betting office OPAP, but also by betting offices in Italy. In the United States, for example, stock markets are at an all-time high these days. This gives good prospects for a possible primary subscription of Sazka shares, he added.