William Hill looks to turnaround online decline following rough start to 2016

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William Hill’s 2016 woes continue as the operator reported a 3% decline in group net revenues for its unaudited 17 week trading update (period ending 26 April).

A rough start to 2016, had seen the FTSE-listed operator revise its year financial guidance following a miserable week at Cheltenham 2016. Today William Hill governance stated that 2016 expectations remained at a range of £260-280 million in operating profits.

A key concern for investors will be William Hill’s ‘online’ decline, which saw the operator’s division record a 11% net revenue drop. The operator reported that both its online games (-4%) and sports betting products (-17%) had suffered revenue declines during 2016’s opening period.

As reported in its March guidance review, the operator continues to be impacted by new laws allowing players to ‘time-out’ and ‘self-exclude’ from its gambling services.

Seeking to turnaround the divisions performance, William Hill has announced the appointment of Crispin Nieboer as new Managing Director of Online. Updating the market, the operator stated that it would focus on continues product enhancements combined with more efficient/effective player marketing initiatives.

Pointing towards positives, William Hill governance were pleased to record a 3% net revenue gain in its retail betting division. The operator stated that its gaming machine revenues were 4% up during the period.

Focusing on extending its multi-channel offering, William Hill was pleased to confirm that it had integrated +500 proprietary self-service betting terminals in the shops before the start of the EURO 2016

William Hill governance were further pleased with the continued momentum of its Australian sports betting division which had gained a 46% uplift in new customers which had contributed towards a 8% wagering uplift, despite the division being impacted by negative horse racing results.

James Henderson, CEO, commented:

It has been a tough start to the year in Online, which is being impacted by both regulatory change and a gross win margin below normalised levels for the period due to a disappointing Cheltenham festival and unfavourable European football results. Trends in recent weeks remain in line with the guidance we gave in March.

“In Retail, it is pleasing to see gaming growth improve again and we are on track with the roll-out of our self-service betting terminal before the EUROs, allowing us to bring the best of Online to our shops ahead of a big summer of sport. Australia is showing benefits of our improved offering and strengthening brand in the market, and the US continues to be strong.

“I am delighted to announce Crispin’s permanent appointment as Managing Director of Online. He has a strong track record in digital and has made good progress since taking on the role on an interim basis in January by addressing areas of under-performance in Online.”

William Hill unaudited 17- week performance overview 

unaudited

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