MyTicket owner Deutsche Entertainment AG (DEAG) says it is still targeting a profit in 2020 despite the COVID-19 outbreak decimating the live events sector.

In its results for the first three months of 2020, the Berlin-headquartered group – which sold five million tickets in 11 markets last year – predicted a material decline in sales and earnings in the current financial year due to the pandemic.

However, DEAG said it has fortified its position by measures such as significantly reducing its monthly fixed costs through applying strict cost management, including the implementation of short-time work in its core markets Germany, the UK and Switzerland.

The group said: “The company’s goal is to remain EBITDA positive for 2020, however, achieving such will depend on the duration and future course of the pandemic.”

Frankfurt-listed DEAG considers itself to be in a “strong position” to meet the challenges of the crisis with access to financial resources of more than €60m, consisting of available liquidity, credit lines with banks, grants from aid programmes and insurance payments. It added that it has full insurance coverage for officially decreed cancellations.

“The claims settlement process is running smoothly without any problems and the group has already received a seven-figure euro amount as compensation,” added DEAG, which acquired UK ticketing operator Gigantic.com last December.

It said performance in the first three months of the year was in line with original planning for financial year 2020.  Group sales of €26.2m were up three per cent year-on-year, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) was up 20 per cent at €1.2m.

DEAG said it was aided by good business development between January and March due to the increasing focus on higher-margin areas of the business. This included successful performances by renowned artists in its Classics & Jazz division, and 950,000 visitors attending its Christmas Garden events in six locations.

Sales and earnings from ticket sales tripled in the first quarter in Germany alone.

Looking ahead, DEAG said it expects Christmas Garden attendance to rise considerably in 2020, perhaps welcoming up to 1.5 million people in the fourth quarter. It said such open-air events in spacious venues can meet social distancing rules as the number of visitors and crowd density can be controlled. It has therefore decided to increase its number of venues from six to 11.

The group added: “DEAG has developed innovative new event formats for the coming quarters together with its partners in order to offer visitors culture and entertainment even in times of the pandemic.

“These include a ‘Stage Drive Kulturbühne’ open air event to be held on the parking lot of the Jahrhunderthalle in Frankfurt/Main, as well as the ‘BW-Kulturwasen’ in Stuttgart and other formats in the UK.”

DEAG’s share price is up around 2.7 per cent on Thursday morning at €3.45, which is its highest value since early April.

The group recently appointed Moritz Schwenkow as its chief ticketing officer with responsibility for all its brands.