Online improvements to drive William Hill growth

Online improvements to drive William Hill growthWilliam Hill has said it remains on track to hit forecast in 2016 thanks to mobile-led improvements to its online division’s performance.

For the 17 weeks from June 29 to October 25, group net revenue was up by 6% year-on-year, with online revenue climbing 8.4% and retail remaining level.

The amount wagered by customers via the bookmaker’s online channels jumped 6% year-on-year, with a gross win margin of 8.4%, while retail suffered a decline of 5% in terms of amounts wagered, with a gross win margin of 17.1%.

William Hill’s core markets of the UK, Italy and Spain heralded revenue growth of 2% in the 17-week period, with wagers up 9%, while Australia and US revenue climbed 59% and 81%, respectively.

The firm’s performance in the first part of the second quarter places revenue for the year-to-date through to October 25 at 3% higher than at the same point last year, with online revenue remaining level and retail up 3%.

In terms of amounts wagered, online experienced growth of 2%, while retail was down 4%.

Revenue from Hill’s core markets dropped 1%, although while Australia and US revenue was up 12% and 40%, respectively.

Looking ahead to the year-end, Hill said that full-year operating profit is set to come in at the top-end of a previous guidance of between £260 million (€301.2 million/$325 million) and £280 million, subject to normalised gross win margins in the rest of the year.

Philip Bowcock, interim chief executive of William Hill, said: “In this period we have continued to focus on online’s turnaround, identifying efficiencies and international growth.

“Online has returned to wagering growth in the UK following significant enhancements to our mobile sportsbook in Q2 and we are making good progress on the gaming and user experience improvements in H2, further helped by the Grand Parade team we acquired in August; we will complete the heavy lifting on Online’s changes in Q1.

“Our international businesses are all performing well, with double-digit wagering and net revenue growth in each of our key markets of Australia, the US and Italy and Spain.

“In a tough market, the Australian business is benefiting from our in-house technology, which allows us to bring customers innovative new products more frequently than our competitors.

“Looking forward, we remain on track to deliver 2016 operating profit at the top end of our guided range.

“With our significantly improved products and user experience, we are confident that this is the right time to invest further in our online business.”

Meanwhile, the bookmaker has appointed John O’Reilly, Robin Terrell and Mark Brooker as non-executive directors.

O’Reilly, former managing director at Coral Interactive, and Terrell, previously chief customer officer at supermarket chain Tesco, will both join on January 2.

Brooker, formerly chief operating officer at Betfair, will assume his new roles at the bookmakers in April 3.

Gareth Davis, chairman of William Hill, said: “These appointments significantly enhance the Board’s digital, multi-channel and gambling industry experience.

“John’s, Robin’s and Mark’s collective expertise will strengthen the business as we implement our strategy of digital and international diversification.”

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