William Hill pushes for three-point recovery plan in 2017

William Hill governance has this morning published its full-year 2016 financial statement, in what has been a tough year for the FTSE-listed bookmaker, having to revise its corporate forecasts twice in one year due to higher costs and unfavourable sports results.

Closing its 2016 performance, William Hill governance posted a group revenue rise of £1.6 billion in-line with 2015 results. However, further published top-line metrics would see the bookmaker record a 10% decline in group operating profits to £261 million.

In-line with its guidance reported profit before interest and tax improved 1% to £225 million. However, the firm’s earnings per share were slipped by 13% to 18.9p.

William Hill 2017 Financial Overview 

Updating investors, William Hill governance presented ‘the strategic initiatives going forward’. For FY 2017 the bookmaker will seek to expand on the following dynamics;

  • Grow UK market share with increased investment in product, marketing and omni-channel
  • Continue international revenue growth and diversification with focused investment
  • Deliver two key projects to support growth and reinvestment:
    •   a transformation programme that, by increasing efficiencies, will provide c£40m of capital to reinvest in product, marketing and technology; and a further
    • programme with OpenBet to build a global technology platform for the Group over three years.

Speaking to investors, Interim William Hill CEO Philip Bowcock detailed that 2017 would be a critical year for the bookmaker, as it aims to recover lost ground in a much-changed global betting market.

“2016 was a challenging year for William Hill, but one in which we made considerable operational progress, leaving us well-placed to drive the business forward in 2017. We have delivered an extensive product, user experience and marketing improvements in Online, modernised our Retail management structure to focus more on the customer and continued to grow in our key international markets. There are now encouraging signs in all our divisions, in particular, Online’s UK business, which is now delivering sustained growth.

“Looking forward, we want to keep improving the customer experience. This means making it both fast and easy, as well as enjoyable and personal, to bet with William Hill. To do this, we are expanding our product range, increasing our marketing investment and deploying our technology assets and expertise in key areas. At the same time, we expect our transformation programme to continue delivering important efficiency savings that we can reinvest to deliver an even better customer experience and faster growth.”

Further to presenting its end-of-year financial statement, William Hill governance negated reports made by the Financial Times that it would promote Interim CEO Philip Bowcock to Group CEO.

Issuing an update, William Hill Chairman Gareth Davis stated that the Board had entered its final stages in the search for a new corporate leader and that the firm would update stakeholders in the coming weeks.

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