UPDATE 1-Pizza firm DP Eurasia core profit falls as pandemic curbs operations

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March 23 (Reuters) - Pizza firm DP Eurasia, which runs the Domino’s Pizza brand in Turkey and Russia, reported a decline of 44.1% in its 2020 core profit as it came under pressure due to coronavirus-related restrictions.

The London-listed company said on Tuesday its adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell to 69.6 million Turkish lira ($8.91 million) from 124.5 million lira a year ago.

DP Eurasia competes in Russia with a market leader Dodo and Papa John’s. Domino is the second biggest player in the country with a share in pizza limited-service restaurants category of 7.6% at the end of 2020, while Papa John’s holds 5.3%, according to market research provider Euromonitor International.

In Turkey, DP Eurasia is a market leader with a share in pizza category of about 60%.

The company fell to an adjusted net loss of 87.1 million lira from a profit of 2.9 million lira a year earlier as the pandemic limited its operations, though increased home delivery helped stem the losses.

“The Turkish business performed very strongly from a top line point of view, especially with record-breaking like-for-like growth rates in the second half of the year,” CEO Aslan Saranga said.

The company said it surpassed the 75% milestone for group online delivery system sales in 2020 as a percentage of total delivery system sales.

DP Eurasia confirmed its forecasts for 2021, saying it sees like-for-like growth of 12-15% for the year in Russia and 21-25% in Turkey.

$1 = 7.8142 liras Reporting by Anna Rzhevkina, additional reporting by Olga Beskrovnova, editing by Louise Heavens and Jason Neely