March 20, 2020 / 6:48 AM / 9 days ago

UPDATE 1-French lottery operator FDJ warns of financial hit from coronavirus

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PARIS, March 20 (Reuters) - French lottery operator Francaise des Jeux, listed on the stock market by the government last year, warned on Friday of financial hits to its business from the coronavirus outbreak.

FDJ, whose lottery tickets are sold in bars and cafes, said the government’s decision to urge people to stay indoors in a bid to contain the virus would have a negative effect on its main lottery business.

Its sports betting business also suffered from cancellations of major global sports tournaments due to pandemic.

FDJ forecast a loss of about 120 million euros ($129 million) in revenue and about 50 million euros in EBITDA core earnings for 2020 in its sports betting division.

The company said that for now around 80 percent of its sales network was allowed to remain open amid the lockdown ordered by French authorities to fight the spread of the virus in the country.

FDJ has also postponed its shareholders general meeting that was scheduled initially on April 22 to June 30.

FDJ shares are down 22.35% since the beginning of the year.

$1=0.9307 euros Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Matthieu Protard Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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