William Hill FY operating profit seen ahead of expectations; CFO to leave

Andrew Cummings
January 13, 2020

BoyleSports, which was founded in Markethill, Co Armagh by John Boyle, has been on the acquisition trail for some time but this is it largest acquisition to date.

But despite another year of major challenges, the major bookmaker finally saw some consistent positive developments coming its way.

William Hill said profits for the past year are expected to have surpassed expectations after it was buoyed by favourable sporting results in December.

William Hill attributed the better-than-expected performance to favorable sporting results through the reviewed year's end.

"We made good progress on a number of fronts, including our retail business, online and in the U.S., enabling us to deliver on our long-term strategic ambitions".

The group's 2019 final results will be announced on February 26, 2020.

By acquiring Stanley Racing, William Hill entered the retail betting market in Northern Ireland in 2005.

The deal, which also includes two outlets in the Isle of Man, were part of a Stanley Leisure portfolio acquired by William Hill in 2005.

Its UK digital business maintained its growth in line with the market for a third straight quarter, William Hill also noted. In contrast to the United Kingdom, gaming revenues were better thanks to a strong performance from Mr Green while sports book revenues were weaker.

Global online revenues were mixed with the fourth quarter expected to be flat on previous year.

William Hill flagged plans to close some 700 betting shops in 2019 after government cutting the maximum stake on FOBTs.

The US business continued to generate "strong" growth in the fourth quarter, driven by wagering growth and disciplined investment, it said. William Hill now expects the U.S. business to be breakeven overall in 2019, having previously guided to between no profit and a $20m loss. The gambling operator used to rely heavily on revenue from its retail operations, but was seeking to improve its digital arm's performance and expand its regulated United States sports betting presence to offset the losses it has and would suffer from the clampdown of FOBTs.

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