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William Hill

William Hill: pre-tax profit unchanged but net revenue rose 20 per cent

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

Strategic growth boosts William Hill results

WILLIAM HILL have announced a strong set of figures following the release of their interim results for the 26-week period ended July 2, 2013.

Acquistions made earlier in the year have had an effect as the bookmaker's group net revenue was up 20 per cent compared to the same period in 2012, while operating profit rose eight per cent.

Although pre-tax profit remains unchanged at £143.6 million, the acquisition of Playtech's 29 per cent stake in William Hill Online, which was completed in April, has reaped dividends.

Online sportsbook net revenue was up 44 per cent, which in turn drove overall online net revenue up 18 per cent and operating profit growth up 16 per cent.

Strategically the bookmaker continued their growth with a £459m acquisition of Sportingbet's Australian business in March, while a corporate bond designed to raise approximately £375m was issued in June to help pay for recent spending.

Chief executive Ralph Topping said: "I am pleased with the extent of the strategic progress we have made in the last six months. Australia is a very attractive proposition and, since we assumed ownership, we are excited by the opportunity we see to develop William Hill Australia by improving our digital offer and targeting the recreational customer.

"Taking control of online is giving us more freedom both to invest and to use that expertise across the group, including in Australia, where we have a team from online helping to develop the proposition to compete more effectively. That work is ongoing and will be completed in early 2014.

"While online and mobile gambling have grown substantially, retail has continued to prove resilient, with net revenue growing, driven by both betting and gaming. Profits have held up well even without a major football tournament and with the business being hit by additional tax. As the UK economy improves and consumers generally feel more confident, we remain confident retail will continue to prosper.

"Looking forward, we are continuing to innovate and to invest, developing mobile gaming, rolling out the next generation gaming machine in the shops and with a clear plan for maximising the value of our acquisitions for the long-term benefit of the business."

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