The firm is also undergoing complicated times due to an internal shareholders’ dispute

Codere closes gambling venues in Italy amid coronavirus outbreak

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Codere Group officials have announced that its eleven bingo halls will close their door until April 3, due to the critical state of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy. As a consequence, the company’s stock has fallen dramatically as the group is also undergoing a complicated internal dispute among its shareholders.

Pursuant to a decree issued by the Italian Prime Minister this week, the four-week coronavirus lockdown has been extended to cover Lombardy, including its capital Milan, and 14 other provinces in northern Italy. Schools, universities, museums, shopping centers, and cinemas have been shut, as well as gambling venues across the country.

These measures directly affect Codere, who also operates machines at bars, where time restrictions have also been imposed (bars will only open from 6:00 a.m. to 6 p.m.). In 2019, Codere operated slot machines at 2,198 bars in Italy, where the company generated EUR 343 M in revenues (25% of the company’s consolidated figure) and saw an adjusted EBITDA of EUR 21 M (8% of the company’s consolidated figure).

"There is no issue more important to Codere than protecting the health and welfare of its guests and employees, while the company works on mitigating the short-term financial impact of these measures on its Italian segment," Codere officials explained. The company will continue to provide updates on the consequences the coronavirus outbreak has on its Italian business or any other market that could be affected by it.

Internal conflict

Initially, the announcement of the halls’ closure had a negative impact on the stock market as shares in Codere plunged 8,927% Monday, while, on a corporative level, the internal conflict among the company’s authorities is beginning to gain traction.

The Board of Directors held a meeting on Monday, in which the members acknowledge the reception of the official notice by Masampe S.L. —owned by the Martínez Sampedro brothers—, calling for an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders and the addition to the agenda of the dismissal of outside directors Norman Sorensen Valdez —current president of the Board of Directors—, Matthew Turner and proprietary director Timothy Lavelle.

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