Online Operations Shine Again For William Hill P.l.c.

Digital division recorded record profits in 2014 of GBP 177.7 million

William Hill plc posted its 2014 FY results Thursday, demonstrating that its diversification strategy continues to work, and showcasing on a group basis:
* Net revenue at GBP 1.60 billion, up 8 percent;
* Operating profit reached GBP 372.2 million, an increase of 11 percent;
* Pre-exceptional profit before tax was up 13 percent at GBP 317.3 million;
* Pretax profit was down 9 percent at GBP 233.9 million;
* Profit after tax sank 9 percent to GBP 206.3 million;
* Strong net cash inflow from operating activities of GBP 368.2 million and reducing debt levels;
* Strong US performance ahead of expectations: net revenue up 31 percent and operating profit up 98 percent;
* Strong growth in net revenue in Italy and Spain, up 39 percent and 64 percent, respectively;
* Improvements in key performance indicators in Australia, with net revenue growth of 11 percent and operating profit growth of 121 percent;
* Investors received dividends of 23.6p per share, up 5 percent.
The online and mobile operations of the company again produced stellar numbers, contributing GBP 177.7 million in profits, with both sports betting and gaming performing strongly, up 20 percent. Digital products now provide 40 percent of the group profits.
Digital division highlights included:
* Online sportsbook turnover up 28 percent;
* Mobile wagering increased by 55 percent;
* Online NGR rose 17 percent;
* Net revenue from mobile gaming activity soared an impressive 117 percent;
Commenting on the results after his first year at the helm, CEO James Henderson said:
"2014 was a record year for William Hill, with good operating profit growth benefiting from the continued digital and international diversification of our revenue streams, and from a record-breaking World Cup performance.
"Online has delivered 21 percent compound annual net revenue growth since 2009 and is competitively at the leading edge in this market.
"Retail remains resilient and, with the largest number of betting shops in the UK and as the leading UK digital operator, we are moving closer to a 'one customer' proposition to deliver a seamless experience for our customers across our channels."
Like Ladbrokes earlier this week (see previous InfoPowa report), William Hill also fell victim to one major loss-making week in which the punters had a field day with football betting wins, and this held the company back in its first quarter.
Henderson commented on the experience, saying:
"Whilst inclusion of the loss-making week leaves us behind internal expectations for the period as a whole, the board's view is that this volatility in sporting results is now a normal part of the group's trading, given the increased proportion of accumulator football betting in online as well as retail. Therefore, the board remains confident in its expectations for 2015."
Earlier this month, William Hill's potential £720m takeover of 888 failed after a key shareholder opposed the deal as not offering enough (see previous InfoPowa report).

Online Casino News Courtesy of Infopowa