William Hill: bookmaker reported record betting on World Cup
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
RECORD-BREAKING World Cup wagering helped drive operating profit growth for William Hill in the first half of 2014, as the bookmaker published their interim results on Friday.
However, while net revenue was up seven per cent for the 26-week period ending July 26 compared to the same period last year at £805.2 million, profit before tax for Britain’s biggest bookmaker fell 15 per cent to £121.8m versus £143.6m in 2013.
Operating profit was narrowly down at £176.9m, as opposed to £181.4m last year, a drop of two per cent, while the dividend per share was 4.0 pence, a rise of eight per cent.
Online wagering on the 2014 World Cup in Brazil was up 211 per cent compared to the the 2010 tournament held in South Africa, setting a new record.
The online sportsbook as a whole performed well, with turnover up 41 per cent and mobile wagering rose 74 per cent, though net revenue growth was affected by less favourable sports results.
The international arms of William Hill in America and Australia both recorded strong profits, with August 1 marking the start of a new era for the firm with James Henderson replacing Ralph Topping as chief executive.
Henderson said: “I am proud to be taking over from Ralph Topping as CEO. Serving the company for 44 years, he has been instrumental in building the business into what it is today. I see William Hill as an innovative company with an excellent brand, a strong and diverse spread of businesses, a high level of customer understanding that allows us to bring customers an engaging and differentiated offer, good technological know-how and excellent cash generation.
“What excites me most is the potential for the business both in the UK and internationally as well as potential in both the digital world and on a multi-channel basis. We have an outstanding team whose insights are being applied to our international operations. With our scale, technology and first-rate team, there is a lot more we can do to drive revenues across our existing products and platforms.
“We will always face regulatory challenges given our focus on regulated markets, as well as volatility in sporting results. Greater diversity helps mitigate this risk. We have already strengthened our global reach with two home markets and evolving opportunities in Spain, Italy and the US. I believe this is the right strategy and I will be looking hard at how we can continue to create shareholder value in developing a focused but internationally orientated gambling group.”
At 8.50am the share price for William Hill was down 4.60 pence at 348 pence.