PMU sees Q3 revenue slip despite ongoing French racing growth

16 October 2019

Pari-Mutuel Urbain (PMU) has reported a 1.8% year-on-year decline in revenue for the third quarter, despite experiencing ongoing growth within its French horse racing betting business.

Revenue for the three months through to 30 September 2019 came in at €2.26bn (£1.95bn/$2.50bn), down from the corresponding period last year but level with the second quarter of the current year.

PMU was hit particularly hard within its sports betting operation, which excludes horse racing, with revenue falling 28% year-on-year to €59m. The operator also saw an 11.7% decline in poker revenue to €125m in the period.

However, there was positive news for PMU’s core French horse racing business, with revenue up 0.5% to €1.81bn, though the same could not be said for PMU’s international horse racing arm, where revenue slipped 4.7% to €258m.

Focusing on the French horse racing arm, PMU said online betting was up 5.1% year-on-year to €199m, while mobile wagers also increased by 8.3% to €61m. Land-based wagering remains the main source of income for this area of the business, but stakes were down marginally (0.3%) to €1.54bn in the period.

The third quarter results made for similar reading as the first half, with overall revenue down but the operator seeing growth within its French racing arm.

Reflecting on the third quarter, PMU’s chief executive Cyril Linette said that ongoing growth within the French horse racing business demonstrates the operator’s strategy to focus more on its core operations is working.

“The good trends observed support the strategic choice to refocus the PMU on its race DNA,” he said. “The recovery plan is focused first of all on the customer's heart and our traditional points of sale.

“By voluntarily decreasing the supply of races and bets, it was to recreate the attractiveness of our bettors and to facilitate the life of our distribution network. These new measures have been understood and very well received. We must redouble our efforts, but the trend is encouraging.”

Bertrand Méheut, chairman of the board of directors at PMU, added: “The strong choices made a year ago and supported by the board of directors are bearing fruit. The strong correction of the downward trend in activity is confirmed month after month.”

Méheut also highlighted the decision to rebrand PMU as a key turning point for the operator. This project is ongoing, with Emmanuelle Malecaze-Doublet having last month been brought in as its new marketing director.