William Hill today announced a trading update showing an impressive 26% growth in online revenue for the 17 weeks to the end of October 2019 . However the period included trading figures from the recently acquired Mr Green business and stripping out Mr Green left a mere 1% year on year revenue growth.
The bookmaker said that its UK online William Hill business was responsible for two thirds of overall online revenue. On a pro-forma basis, UK net revenue was up 4% during this period.
Mr Green was acquired by William Hill PLC in January of this year for £242M as part of Hill’s strategy of diversifying away from the UK . Mr Green is a purely online business and has traditionally performed well in Scandinavia .
The William Hill online business enjoyed an 8.1% gross margin during this period which is the same for the year to-date.
The William Hill retail business is having to come to terms with the reduction in the maximum stake per slip on FOBT machines being reduced to £2 from April this year causing the closure of 700 betting shops across the UK . Unsurprisingly revenue in the retail division dropped around 16% on a year on year comparison. William Hill still operates approx. 1600 UK betting shops and reported that some shop gaming trends are improving incrementally as customer behaviour adjusts following the implementation of the £2 maximum staking limit.
New Chief Executive Ulrik Bengtsson is focusing on the US market for future growth for the business but had this to say regarding operations in the UK, “We have remodelled the UK retail estate, while the UK online business has benefited from a series of customer facing improvements evidenced in the stabilising market share in the last two quarters.”
Full details of this trading update can be viewed here http://www.williamhillplc.com/investors/results-centre/2019/