CEO Koen Slippens: ‘Our expectations last year regarding the impact COVID-19 would have on our markets and results in 2021 only partially materialised. On the positive side, when the restrictive measures ended, a pent-up wave of consumers in the Netherlands and Belgium started attending events and going to bars, restaurants, hotels, amusement parks and theatres again. On the negative side, and contrary to our expectations, the emergence of the Delta and later the Omicron variants prevented the strong recovery we saw in the summer from continuing into the second half of the year. Inconsistent decision-making, and the lack of effective action based on lessons learned on the part of the government did nothing to improve this.
Year-on-year comparisons are meaningless in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, however it is clear that we have gained market share in both the Netherlands and Belgium during the past two years. Our resilience as an organisation, rooted in a culture of entrepreneurship and resolute action, again proved to be a huge asset in 2021. We have immense respect for the way in which our colleagues and our customers effectively and speedily responded to each new development related to COVID-19. With that strong base in mind, we can look forward to the future with great confidence.
Measures to cut costs and constraints in our investment agenda ensure that we can maintain profitability at a lower level of revenue, and further reduce our debt position. We once again made use of the support programmes offered by the government this year. Due to the associated conditions, we are unable to pay a dividend for 2021'
Read more in the press release:
We will publish the 2021 annual report in Dutch this morning. The English version will be available next week.
Comments on the annual figures will follow today at an online press conference and an online analyst meeting.
The presentation is here available.
In our trading update of 21 April 2022, we will go into developments in the first quarter of 2022 in greater detail, and we will publish our interim figures on 21 July 2022.
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