It can no longer sound like a novelty to anyone circaone of the most important gaming groups in Spain, is about to go public. There has been a lot of speculation about this in recent years and it seems only a matter of time. Only the current situation in the industry due to the restrictions still caused by the Covid 19 pandemic is paralyzing what is happening.
Cirsa has had to take the plunge three years after businessman Manuel Lao was forced to do so Sell the company to Blackstone, a US private equity fund principally active in the Americas and also in Europe through investments in the real estate sector. At that time, the company was closed at 2,200 million. Should the IPO take place, the group’s valuation would be around 3,000 million.
And that the Spanish company has not had an easy phase in the last year and a half. In 2019, benefits reached 1,600 million euros and the increase was 10% compared to the previous year. Despite the piling debt, the Catalan factory remained one of the benchmarks in physical casinos and also in online casinos, especially after buying 50% of Sportium.
It must be remembered that Cirsa has more than 166 casinos around the world. In Spain there are two references. On the one hand there is the Casino Valencia, one of the last in the Valencian community to have a great operation. And on the other hand, a benchmark on the Costa del Sol like Casino Marbella, whose history dates back to the 70’s and 80’s.
However, both buildings that have earned such a solid reputation had to remain closed during the worst months of the pandemic. And when they managed to reopen, it was with restrictions and with the requirement to adapt to all the necessary security measures applied in the gambling industry.
All this has generated The drop in earnings will be almost 50%. Sales fell in all areas: 60% for slots, 67% for casinos and 63% for bingo. Only sports betting in the online business was able to compensate for the situation to some extent, with sales four times higher than in the previous year.
The losses amounted to more than 250 million euros, including the Latin American businesses in countries such as Peru or Mexico. In the latter case, he acquired some properties that had given him very good returns, but which also had problems in 2020 and therefore the health crisis.
And although Blackstone made the decision to invest around 120 million euros to defuse the situation, it is still necessary to take measures that will definitively change the trend and set a sign of recovery. There was already a significant improvement in 2021, actually The owners of Cirsa hope that in the short term all business can be restored.
But it still cannot be 100% guaranteed as it depends on the economy recovering in all sectors; that the physical gaming industry may also recover and return to pre-pandemic normalcy; and that, following changes to Spanish legislation by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, arcades will be able to retain and increase their customer base. The latter is a slightly more complicated task.
There has long been speculation about a possible IPO, but everything has been delayed. Now Barclays, a financial services company, is one of the great people who have led this movement. A move that would begin by testing how much stock market investors would be willing to pay and how much capital other venture funds could invest.
Given the current situation, one might think that this is a complicated process, but we have to keep that in mind In the last quarter, Cirsa has already recovered more than 60% of the lost billing level in 2020. In fact, other companies like Codere, which also compete in the same fields of activity, will not be able to quickly overcome the blow that the Corona crisis has dealt them.
Blackstone isn’t a player looking to own such companies forever, so he’s looking for an exit via the stock market. The first steps were taken with the issuance of bonds that allowed the company to actually function as a public company. In September it completed a new issue of 600 million with a maturity of six years.
The operation should be finally prepared by 2022 and that would make Cirsa a very important change. What won’t change is that it will continue to be a leading company in Spain, where it has some of the best land-based casinos. Meanwhile, investments in Latin American countries continue to increase.
Without going further, its properties also include the Puerto Madero Casino, a floating casino that is among the most outstanding in Argentina. In online business, on the other hand, the situation is very good and growing steadily.