Codere boardroom war reignited by H1 results

10 September 2018

Three Codere directors, including the company’s founders, refused to sign off its latest financial results in another flare up of its boardroom war.

Almost half of the Spanish firm’s board would not put their name to the gaming group’s results for the first half of 2018, which showed growth in Europe but an overall 7% drop in turnover due to the adverse effect of exchange rates, most notably Argentina’s Peso.

Operating income was at €759.3m (£681m/$880m) as a result of the collapse of revenue in Argentina, which was down 22.5% to €232.6m. Codere pointed out that at a constant exchange rate, revenues would have grown by more than 11%.

The Bolsa Madrid operator recorded group-wide consolidated losses of €34m across all its operating divisions. Corporate debt balance is at approximately €840m, down slightly on 2017.

Codere’s European segment registered an increase in turnover of almost 10% to €273m, which it said was mainly due to its growth in online and face-to-face sports betting in Spain.

President Raúl Sorensen, appointed to replace founder José Antonio Martínez Sampedro in a boardroom coup earlier this year, was among those to sign off the accounts. Martínez Sampedro, his brother Luis Javier and Pío Cabanillas would not put their names to it.

The Martínez Sampedros founded the company and were the controlling shareholders until financial restructuring in 2014.

They kept their positions until January 2018, when the main shareholder funds appointed Vicente di Loreto as the new CEO and Sorensen as non-executive chairman. The Martínez Sampedros became proprietary board members.

Since then they have waged a battle to regain control of the company, including an unsuccessful court challenge to their removal.

Codere was recently linked with a takeover by private equity group Blackstone.

Image: Luis García (Zaqarbal)