Wednesday February 19,2014 : WILL HILL ISSUES Q4 AND FULL YEAR TRADING UPDATE
2013 mobile gaming net revenue 199 percent higher than 2012
A trading statement issued by William Hill on its fourth quarter ending December 31, 2013 showed strong underlying net revenue growth from sports betting with above average gross win margins in Retail over-the-counter (OTC) and strong wagering growth from Online Sportsbook.
Key performance highlights for the fourth quarter ending December 31, 2013 included:
– Online total gaming net revenue increased by 14 percent.
– Sportsbook :
– amounts wagered showed strong growth of 38 percent.
– Gross win margin of 8.1 percent reflecting an improvement on the 6.3 percent seen in Q3 (2012 Q4: 8.4 percent), net revenue increased 30 percent.
– Mobile Sportsbook :
– Stakes 92 percent higher than in 2012 and a gross win margin of 9.7 percent.
– Net revenue was up 2 percent, with underlying 13 week growth of 4 percent after adjusting for market closures.
– Mobile Gaming:
– Net revenue was 199 percent higher than in 2012 and increased to 23 percent of Online’s total gaming net revenue.
Our investment programme is enabling the delivery of a high quality mobile gaming experience, with further product launches and the implementation of key enablers such as ‘single sign on’ and multiple payments, commented Ralph Topping, chief executive officer of William Hill.
– Net revenue grew 13 percent. Adjusting for Machine Games Duty (MGD), it was up 4 percent.
– OTC net revenue was up 4 percent with amounts wagered down 2 percent but the gross win margin up strongly by 1.2 percentage points to 20.3 percent.
– Gaming machine net revenue was up 24 percent; on an underlying basis1, it was up 3 percent.
– Gross win per machine per week was up from GBP 918 in 2012 to GBP 920.
The Sportingbet and tomwaterhouse.com businesses were both impacted by poor results in the peak Spring Carnival period, with 42 percent of favourites winning the group races through the carnival compared with 18 percent in 2012.
The company said operational improvement plans are progressing well regarding an improved user experience, digital capabilities and the marketing mix.
United States of America:
William Hill US had a strong quarter, ending William Hill's first full year of ownership, with amounts wagered up 34 percent (13 week basis +47 percent) and net revenue more than 150 percent (13 week basis over 250 percent) ahead of Q4 2012 following an 8.3 percent gross win margin, recovering from the very weak comparative in 2012 (4.2 percent, 13 week basis 3.4 percent).
“Q4 proved a strong end to the year as we enjoyed continued momentum in Sportsbook with 38 percent more wagered in Q4 on a 13 week basis than last year. “This demonstrates our competitive strength in Online ahead of the expected introduction of the Point of Consumption tax in December 2014.
“We made good progress on key initiatives in the quarter: improving our mobile gaming offer, rolling out the Eclipse gaming machine to over a third of our estate and continuing to enhance Australia’s digital capabilities. It is also pleasing to see a turnaround in the profitability of our US business in our first full year of ownership,” Topping said.
Key performance highlights for the twelve month period ending December 31, 2013 included:
– Group net revenue increased 16 percent (52 week basis +18 percent). Adjusting for MGD, it was up 10 percent (52 week basis +12 percent).
– Retail net revenue was up 8 percent (52 week basis +10 percent) or flat adjusting for MGD (52 week basis +2 percent)
– Online net revenue was up 10 percent (52 week basis +12 percent).
– Group Operating profit is expected to be around GBP 334 million.
– Full year defined amortisation is now expected to be cGBP 11 million.
– Exceptional items are expected to total GBP 18.6 million; in line with previous guidance with the exception of a fall in value of GBP 1.4 million on our investment property portfolio.
– Group net debt for covenant purposes stood at around GBP 800 million at 31 December 2013.
William Hill's Online Sportsbook continues to show strong wagering growth, up 48 percent in the first two weeks of 2014. However, unfavourable football results in week 2, leading to an unusually high number of odds-on favourites winning, had an adverse impact on the accumulator business which recorded a c GBP 13 million loss in the week.
"There is no certainty that we can recoup this shortfall to internal expectations but based on previous experience of such customer-friendly outcomes, such as ‘Dettori Day' in 1996, we anticipate a positive benefit from increased customer confidence, particularly with so much of the season ahead and with the 2014 World Cup to come," concluded Topping.