CTS Eventim has reported a 34.7% year-on-year nosedive in group revenue in the first quarter of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, falling from €282.7m to €184.6m.

In its results for the three months to March 31, the Berlin-headquartered firm said its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) had decreased 76.3% year-on-year to €13.5m.

Eventim’s ticketing segment reported revenues down 24.4% in Q1 to €79m, while the normalised EBITDA for ticketing was also 59.8% lower year-on-year to €16.9m.

The company’s live entertainment division, which grew significantly in early 2020 due to a series of mergers and acquisitions, reported its revenue down 40.4% to €108.6m, while normalised EBITDA suffered a fall of 121.9% to negative €3.3m.

Klaus-Peter Schulenberg (pictured), chief executive of CTS Eventim, said: “We got off to a very strong start in 2020 – we grew our Live Entertainment business internationally even further by acquiring majority shareholdings in Gadget Entertainment AG and wepromote Entertainment Group Switzerland AG, by completing our takeover of a majority stake in the Barracuda Group in Austria and by entering a new joint venture with Michael Cohl, the well-known US promoter.

“In March 2020, the entire live entertainment industry and its fans were hard hit by the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated measures implemented by government and local authorities. However, we actively adjusted to the new situation and responded immediately and rigorously with internal measures to minimise costs and maximise efficiency.

“At the same time, we are benefiting from the Group’s good cash flow situation in order to cope with this challenging situation over a longer period of time and even to emerge stronger from this phase afterwards.”

Eventim noted that it has been assisted by the implementation of government-backed voucher schemes in several of its key markets, including Germany, Austria and Italy, in response to the mass cancellation of events due to COVID-19. The schemes involve a voucher being issued, rather than a refund of the ticket price, to holders of tickets for music, cultural, concert or sports events that they are unable to attend because of the COVID-19 pandemic, or to holders who are unable or unwilling to accept an alternative date.

Eventim added that due to the “current uncertainties” surrounding the further development of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts, it has been unable to issue a “sufficiently reliable and specific new forecast” for the 2020 financial year.

It said: “The CTS Group will quantify the expected future development of revenue and earnings as soon as a reliable forecast is possible.”

Last week, Eventim was forced to defend its refund policy after fans complained that the firm was holding onto between 12-14 per cent of the price paid by fans despite 155,000 events being cancelled or postponed.