Wednesday 13 December 2017

Lotto firm cuts rates with €220m refinancing

Dermott Griffin, Chief Executive of Premier Lotteries Ireland
Dermott Griffin, Chief Executive of Premier Lotteries Ireland
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

The operator of the National Lottery has struck a refinancing deal for €220m in debt facilities, the Irish Independent has learned.

The operator, Canadian-controlled Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI), confirmed that it has taken advantage of improved economic conditions in Ireland to obtain "more favourable financing arrangements". The facilities had more than €180m drawn on them.

Deutsche Bank arranged the new facilities, but it is not yet clear if any new lenders have come on board. Bank of Ireland was the book runner.

AIB, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank, BNP Paribas Fortis and Santander Global Banking and Markets were the previous known lenders for the €220m in debt facilities secured in 2014, for which the facilities agent was Royal Bank of Scotland.

A spokeswoman for Premier Lotteries Ireland, whose chief executive is Dermot Griffin (right), confirmed the refinancing, but declined to give specific details.

"PLI can confirm that following a successful start to its operation of the National Lottery since securing the licence in 2015, and in light of improving economic conditions in Ireland, we have reviewed and obtained more favourable financing arrangements," she said.

"PLI takes a positive long-term view of the Irish market and is committed to providing the highest quality of service and delivering a modern world-class lottery to the people of Ireland."

Premier Lotteries Ireland won a contract awarded by An Post in 2014 to operate the National Lottery for 20 years.

PLI's owners include the €120bn Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, which also owns the UK-based Camelot Group, as well as An Post and An Post pension funds. PLI paid €405m for the contract.

The latest set of publicly available accounts for PLI show that it had four separate bank loan facilities amounting to a total of €220m at the end of 2015, with €182.5m having been drawn down.

The single largest amount owned under those facilities was €118.3m. The other drawn facilities were for totals including €48.1m, €11.8m and €3.9m.

The facilities had been provided by a syndicate of five banks and carried interest rates of Euribor plus 4.5pc or plus 5pc.

At the end of 2015, the group also had outstanding loans owed to related parties totalling €184.7m. Of that, €145.3m was capital owned to Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, €19.5m to An Post, and €19.5m owed to An Post Pension. All three loan arrangements incur interest at a fixed rate of 9pc until maturity, the accounts noted.

The accounts also show that in 2015, Premier Lotteries Ireland posted revenue of €670.4m, with €482.5m of that generated from draw-based games and €187.9m from scratchcard games.

It handed out €381.1m in prizes, while €188m was handed over to good causes. The company made a €7.4m operating profit in 2015.

Irish Independent

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