William Hill 2019 Half-year results Delivering on our strategy and well positioned for future growth

by Administrator

William Hill would have reported a £51m profit if not for the FOBT curbs but instead slumped to a £63.5m loss as it took a £97m one-off accounting charge related to the impact on the value of its bookmaking business.  The firm’s chief executive, Philip Bowcock, said: “We are making good progress against the five-year strategy we outlined last year, delivering strong revenue growth in the US and other international markets and positioning William Hill well for future growth.  


Financial results

  • H1 results in line with expectations during period of transition and Year 1 of new strategy
  • Group net revenue up 1% to £811.7m, impacted by £2 stake limit on gaming machines in betting shops and reflecting the acquisition of Mr Green
  • Adjusted operating profit2 down 33% to £76.2m reflecting £2 stake limit and investment in US Expansion
  • Exceptional charge and adjustments of £114.3m, including £97.1m relating to mitigation measures following the £2 stake change, including the proposed closure of c700 betting shops, leading to a statutory loss before tax of £63.5m
  • Net debt to EBITDA for covenant purposes4 of 2.0 times, up from 1.0 times at the full year, in line with expectations
  • Corporate bond successfully refinanced with new 4.75% seven-year £350m bond maturing in 2026
  • Interim dividend of 2.66p per share, consistent with the Board’s commitment to an 8p per share underpin


Strategic and operational progress

  • Building a scale business in US sports betting with $1bn of amounts wagered and 27% market share across seven states in H1
    • On track to launch market-leading and proprietary sports betting technology platform ahead of NFL season
    • Now live with sports betting in eight US states, two more to go live imminently
    • Announced Eldorado Resorts, Inc. acquisition of Caesars Entertainment, if completed, would provide access to 34 additional casinos, which we anticipate would generate c$20-35m additional retail EBITDA within three years, and to five incremental states including New York
  • Diversifying Online with contribution from international markets increasing to 33% of net revenue in H1
    • Online UK net revenue down 1% reflecting weaker sports results year on year and enhanced customer due diligence, year on year impact now at an end
    • Product improvements driving improved customer metrics and 7% UK net revenue growth in Q2
    • Online International revenues up 66% and positive momentum from Mr Green
    • International hub established in Malta, providing a base within the European Union
    • Integration on track with c£4m annualised cost synergies to be achieved this year
  • Remodelling Retail following implementation of £2 stake limit on B2 gaming products on 1 April
    • Revenue impact in line with our previous guidance
    • Decisive action taken with start of colleague consultation on proposed closure of c700 shops
  • Distinctive new brand proposition launched in UK in time for new domestic football season
  • Commitment alongside four other leading companies to increase funding for treatment of problem gambling
  • Full-year performance expected to be in line with previous guidance Philip Bowcock, Chief Executive Officer of William Hill, commented:

“We are making good progress against the five-year strategy we outlined last year, delivering strong revenue growth in the US and other international markets and positioning William Hill well for future growth.

“We continue to expand rapidly in the US, both in Nevada and in the new states, with over $1bn wagered with us in the first half. We are now live in eight states and will expand into at least two more states in H2.

“Online International revenues have grown strongly, up 66%, with the acquisition of Mr Green. We are becoming more diversified with non-UK markets now contributing a third of Online’s revenues, up from just 24% last year. In the UK, performance has improved through the half, up 7% in Q2, as we manage the tax and regulatory impacts.

“In Retail we took the tough decision to announce a consultation process over the proposed closure of around 700 shops to protect the long-term future of the business following the introduction of the £2 stake limit. The response of our colleagues has been incredibly professional during this difficult time and I would like to thank each and every one of them for that.

“Underpinning William Hill’s progress is our sustainability strategy and long-term ambition that nobody is harmed by gambling. The voluntary whistle-to-whistle ban has begun and we have, together with other leading operators, committed to a significant increase in funding for safer gambling measures, including for treatment. We continue to work on additional measures to protect our customers and lead the regulatory agenda.”



  1. Both the statutory and adjusted results include the performance of Mr Green since the acquisition completed in January
  2. Adjusted operating profit is defined as profit before interest and tax, excluding exceptional items and other defined adjustments. Further detail on adjusted measures is provided in note 3 to the financial
  3. Basic EPS is based on an average of 871.8 million shares for H1 2019 and an average of 858.7 million shares for H1 2018. Adjusted EPS is based upon adjusted profit after
  4. Net debt for covenant purposes and EBITDA for covenant purposes are non-statutory measures. The basis of the calculation is as described in note 24 to the financial statements within our 2018 Annual Report and Accounts, with the addition of the EBITDA of Mr Green for the full rolling 12 month
  5. Results in the Online operating review table are presented on an adjusted basis including Mr Green’s results post acquisition on 28 January
  6. Where pro forma results are stated, this assumes that Mr Green was consolidated into the Group at the end of January 2018, in order to provide a more meaningful comparator period. Further detail on pro forma results are provided in note 13 to the financial statements.
  7. The US Existing business has now been simplified to contain only revenues from Nevada, with all revenues from Delaware now recognised in US Expansion. 2018 results are restated to reflect this
  8. Definitions are provided in the glossary at the back of the
  9. Results are presented on an adjusted basis unless otherwise