Life is very rosy in the garden of William Hill after the group released its final results for the 53-weeks ending 1 January 2013. The announcement comes in the aftermath of the decision to exercise their call option to purchase the 29% minority stake in the highly successful William Hill Online (WHO) sector, which had been held by Playtech since 2009, and also the pending acquisition of the Australian and Spanish online business of Sportingbet.
The key points of the statement include group net revenue being up 12% (£1,276.9m) and operating profit up 20% (£330.6m) against the 52-week period ending 27 Dec 2011. The operations teams had a successful 53-weeks with retail creating a 6% net revenue and 7% operating profit growth. This summary includes net revenue from both over-the-counter and the betting machines.
The peach in the fruit bowl that is William Hill Online (WHO) continued to deliver resplendent growth in sportsbook net revenue +50%, driving overall net revenue +27% and operating profit +36%. It wasn’t just the static machines that were delivering profit either. Mobile sportsbook turnover was +260% with 32% of total sportsbook betting in December coming via a mobile source. Basic adjusted earnings per share +21% and dividend +17%; profit before tax +48%.
The report also stated that the proposed £460 million acquisition of Sportingbet’s Australian and Spanish online business is on plan to be completed by 19 March 2013.
Ralph Topping, Chief Executive of William Hill, stated:
“Today marks a major milestone for William Hill as we propose taking full control of William Hill Online. This move rounds off a successful 12 months, which have seen us, take our first steps into the US and, through the pending Sportingbet acquisition, lay the foundations for growth in the attractive Australian market.
“At the same time, I am pleased to report that the team has remained tightly focused on operational matters and has delivered a strong 2012 organic performance across both Retail and Online channels. Retail has continued to deliver revenue and profit growth, while William Hill Online recorded another outstanding year, particularly in mobile, which has significantly outperformed our expectations and very much remains a high priority for us.
“With our well-recognized William Hill brand, strong management team and multi-channel capability, we are well placed to take full advantage of both the organic growth potential of the enlarged business and the new opportunities that are opening up to us.”