The Société des Bains de Mer (SBM) secured almost €200 million more in turnover last financial year, signalling strong recovery for Monaco’s largest company and the region’s most important employer.
For 150 years, the Société des Bains de Mer (SBM) has been one of the leading players in the gambling and casino businesses in Europe, and number one in the luxury tourism market in Monaco. The company, which employs over 4,000 staff within Monaco, Italy and France, runs the Principality’s most prestigious hotels, including the Hôtel de Paris and the Hôtel Hermitage, the most famous Michelin star restaurants, from Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse to the Pavyllon by Yannick Alléno, as well as spas, nightclubs, and of course, gaming locations like the Casino de Monte-Carlo.
So, when the global pandemic hit, SBM’s activity went into freefall.
At a press conference on Tuesday morning, SBM CEO Jean-Luc Biamonti revealed a very encouraging financial report for the year 1st April 2021 to 31st March 2022. Figures show that, despite the ongoing impact of Covid-19, the company managed to achieve a turnover of €530.5 million, an increase of 57% on the previous year which garnered €336.9 million.
“Even though activity in the first quarter of 2021 (April to June) remained strongly impacted by the health crisis, like the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters being held behind closed doors, or heavy restrictions on the Formula 1 Grand Prix, the summer season (July to September) saw a resumption of activity,” said Jean-Luc Biamonti. “The second half of the year confirmed the positive trend we saw in the summer period. Although a slowdown in activity was recorded in December 2021 and January 2022 with the arrival of the fifth wave, the favourable trend was again confirmed in February and March 2022.”
While the first quarter of 2020/21 was heavily marked by the temporary closure of almost all establishments in Monaco due to Covid, no such measures were applied last year. As a result, significant gains were witnessed in the gaming sector, which achieved a turnover of €200.8 million against €124.3 million in 2020/2021. However, figures are still down 16% compared to the 2019/2020 financial year.
With the return of tourists came a bounce in hotel revenue, amounting to €213.3 million against €109 million the previous year.
Over the past 10 years, the Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer Group has been developing its property leasing business. So, in addition to its historic portfolio of retail spaces for luxury brands, the company is offering residential properties with high-end hotel services, including the Résidence du Bay, Résidence du Balmoral, Les Villas du Sporting and the One Monte-Carlo.
The move is definitely paying dividends, with the rental sector, which includes retail and office rental activities as well as hotel residences, presenting a turnover of €117.6 million. Less impacted by the pandemic, this sector saw an increase of 11% on the previous year.
“This is mainly due to the increase in residential rental activity following the implementation of progressive rental of the One Monte-Carlo apartments and the non-renewal of discounts that had been granted to shop tenants during the closure period of April 2020,” revealed the SBM CEO.
Meanwhile, the “other activities sector” posted revenue of €9.3 million compared to €4.6 million the previous year, up €4.7 million.
In March 2021, as SBM grappled with the effects of the pandemic, it implemented a global restructuring plan that included, most significantly, a small number of voluntary redundancies for those aged over 57.
“The announced objective of reducing annual expenses by €25 million resulting from the restructuring plan and reductions in operating expenses has been achieved,” said Biamonti.
The operating profit of the SBM therefore was €35.4 million compared to an operating loss of €103.3 million the previous financial year.
The only negative financial result was seen in its stake in the online gaming group Betclic Everest, which amounted to -€5.2 million for the 2021/2022 financial year, compared to a loss of -€7 million for the 2020/2021 financial year.
It means that, at the end of March 2022, SBM was back in the black with a net positive of €30 million against a net debt of €129.9 million the previous year.
Top photo of Jean-Luc Biamonti by Claude Ingargiola