1/19/2012 :  STRONG ONLINE PERFORMANCE FROM WILL HILL
 
Online yields second consecutive year of over 20 percent growth in net revenue
 
Strong growth in online net revenues were reported by UK bookmaker William Hill in both its fourth quarter and unaudited full year trading update released this week.
 
Key performance indicators for the fourth quarter from September 28 to December 27 2011 include:
 
William Hill Online:
 
–     Strong online net revenue growth in the last quarter in Sportsbook, Casino and bingo, but Poker in decline.
 
–     11 percent growth in retail performance year-on-year over the counter.
 
Other:
 
–     Machines gross win up 7 percent year-on year, on average GBP 924 per machine per week).
 
–     A weaker OTC gross win margin of 17.0 percent, which was two percentage points below the comparator (2010: 19.0 percent), attributed to poor football results and lower horseracing margins.
 
 
Key performance indicators for unaudited full year results include:
 
Group:
 
–     Group net revenue expected to be up by 6 percent.
 
–     Group operating profit expected to yield GBP 274 million (2010: GBP 276.8 million).
 
William Hill Online:
 
–     Online yielding a Y-O-Y net revenue growth of 28 percent, its second consecutive year of delivering above 20 percent.
 
–     Online sportsbook amounts wagered increased by 51 percent, more than doubling since 2009.
 
–     Online sportsbook net revenue growth of 36 percent, with a gross win margin of 7 percent as a whole (2010: 8 percent).
 
–     Online gaming net revenue growth of 24 percent.
 
Other:
 
–     Retail amounts wagered grew overall by 6 percent in 2011 with OTC and machines showing growth of 3 percent and 6 percent, respectively.
 
–     OTC gross win margin at 16.8 percent came in below the prior year (2010: 17.9 percent), with football results in the second half of 2011 impacting margin performance.
 
–     Retail net revenue grew by c1 percent for the year despite the weaker margin, benefitting from machines gross win growth of c9 percent (gross win per machine per week: GBP 901).
 
–     Retail expenses grew by only 2 percent and Operating profit1 declined by c4 percent to around GBP 196 million.
 
–     Telephone channel as a whole delivered an Operating loss of around GBP 4 million in 2011, impacted by losses to a high-staking client predominantly on football betting.
 
Ralph Topping, chief executive, commented:
 
“This is a very positive performance, particularly in a year without a significant international football tournament and with a cGBP 9 million increase in VAT payments as a result of the rate change.
 
“Going into 2011, we were – like many businesses with a strong presence in the UK – predicted to face a challenging consumer backdrop but our overall performance shows we’ve seen the benefit of being a predominantly low ticket leisure activity. November was certainly a very good month for our football clients betting on small stake, high return multiple bets, which comprise the largest part of our Retail football business but football betting in 2011 overall continued to show wagering growth in both Retail and Online.
 
“As a multi-channel gambling company with a strong management team, we continue to be well placed to leverage the benefits the William Hill brand brings us. I believe there are more opportunities to grow in the UK with investment in marketing and in new technology and innovation taking place in all our channels. There are also good opportunities for the business beyond our traditional roots as more governments open up to regulated gambling. We will, therefore, continue to invest in taking our brand and our capabilities beyond the UK in 2012 and future years.”
 
The Group will announce its final audited results for the 52 weeks ended December 27, 2011 toward the end of February 2012.
 
In related news, William Hill has awarded an exclusive contract to Inspired Gaming Group for the sole supply of gaming machines to the Group's licenced betting offices.