William Hill results trigger sell-off

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William Hill results trigger sell-off
Master Investor Magazine

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FTSE 250 bookmaker William Hill (LON:WMH) reported that it made a loss before taxation of £721 million during the 53 weeks to 1st January. Revenues were up by 2% but the company booked £922 million in exceptional charges and adjustments, most of which were linked to the company’s UK retail business following the Triennial Review.

CEO Phillip Bowcock commented: “2018 was a busy and decisive year for us. Key regulatory decisions in the UK and US gave us much needed clarity to set a new five-year strategy and a goal to double profits by 2023. We have three businesses at different stages, with Online growing in the UK and diversifying internationally, Retail being remodelled in response to the new £2 stake limit, and rapid expansion in the US sports betting market. Underpinning this, we have taken a clear leadership stance around safer gambling with our Nobody Harmed ambition.

“Against this backdrop, we delivered a good underlying performance in Online, strong growth in the US Existing business and a resilient Retail outturn in the face of difficult high street conditions.

“We have started delivering on our strategy with the expansion of our US business, being first out of the blocks in all states that have regulated sports betting, and with the acquisition of Mr Green, which will support the build-out of our international digital business. We have also put our weight behind reducing the amount of TV gambling advertising seen by under 18s through a voluntary whistle-to-whistle advertising ban before the watershed.

“We know the next few years will require careful navigating and investment, but with a clear strategy and diverse, experienced leadership teams in place we are ready to capitalise on the opportunities available to us“.

William Hill’s share price dropped by 1.97% to 183.85p (as of 15:05 GMT).

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