Long term confidence for William Hill as digital recovery continues

Long term confidence for William Hill as digital recovery continues

Monday, November 20, 2017 Posted by Luke Massey
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The operator has targeted £40 million in group savings for reinvestment

Publishing its 17-week trading update (period ending 24 October), William Hill has detailed a robust corporate performance “in-line with expectations”, as the company continues its digital recovery.

Despite facing a tough comparative period featuring the closing stages of UEFA Euro 2016, an improved William Hill digital division delivered a 6% increase in net revenues, driven by a 13% uplift in wagers.

The bookmaker’s digital recovery was supported by a 3% net revenue increase recorded by William Hill’s UK retail division, which benefited from a strong +17.6% gross win margin.

Away from home, William Hill recorded a double-digit net revenue from its William Hill USA operations, as the company seeks to expand its international profile.

Delivering a solid trading statement, William Hill also confirmed a 3% increase in year-to-date (YTD) net revenue performance. Furthermore, the FTSE bookmaker is confident of delivering its projected £40 million in group cost efficiency savings for reinvestment.

William Hill CEO Philip Bowcock commented: “We have delivered good financial and operational progress so far in the second half. Our Online business has performed particularly well, with UK wagering 14% ahead of last year, despite the absence of a major football tournament, and an acceleration in gaming growth.

“Retail has benefited from a stronger gross win margin to deliver both Sportsbook and gaming net revenue growth. Internationally, our US business continues to deliver strong double-digit net revenue growth and Australia’s gross win margin has normalised relative to H1.” 

As William Hill leader, Bowcock continues to emphasise the bookmaker’s three-point recovery plan, which aims to see William Hill recover UK market share, expand within the US and Australia and deliver an effective group technology platform.

“We continue to make good progress on our transformation programme, which is on track to deliver £40m of annualised savings by the end of this year,” continued Bowcock. “This is supporting reinvestment in our business, including marketing increases in this second half to promote Online’s reinvigorated product and customer experience.

“Overall, I am encouraged by the huge amount of progress the William Hill team has made this year in improving our customer proposition and delivering on our strategy. We remain on track to deliver on market expectations for 2017.”

Totally Gaming says: A restructured William Hill leadership team seems confident of its long-term strategy, as the bookmaker seeks to recover lost ground against its FTSE competitors. Yet to make its M&A move, William Hill will be followed closely by all industry stakeholders. Nevertheless, it appears that an old dog is learning some new tricks.

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