William Hill ends year weak, issues fresh profit warning

With a weak December rounding out a disappointing year, William Hill has posted lower-than-expected profits for 2016.

In part, the UK bookmaker has blamed the shortfall on a disappointing string of racing and football results towards the year’s end.

Besides blaming said financial disappointment on the good fortune of bettors, Hills has issued its third profit warning of past 12 months.


William Hill figures £20m lower than expected

William Hill unaudited figures £20m lower than expected

According to a company trading update, the bookmaker’s operating profit for the 12 months to 31st December 2016 was £260 million. This is at the bottom end of the firm’s £260m-280m forecasted range.

With final figures due on 24th February, the 2016 estimate is over £30m less than the company pocketed in 2015.


Hills CEO keen to look on bright side

Not that everyone at Hills is wringing their hands and gnashing their teeth. Quite the opposite, CEO Philip Bowcock is keen to accentuate the positives.

“The improvements we saw in wagering in online and Australia in the second half of 2016 have continued in recent weeks. However, all four divisions saw customer-friendly results at the back end of the year, which translated into profits being £20m below our prior expectations.

“With key underlying trends continuing to be positive, the recent run of sporting results have not changed our confidence in a better performance in 2017.”

If Bowcock’s optimism is admirable, it can’t disguise the fact that Hills senior management won’t be receiving 2016 performance bonuses.

It also hasn’t deterred the likes of SpringOwl Asset Management’s Jason Ader (above) from taking to Twitter to label the bookmaker “One of the worst performing companies in the world.”

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Nigel Frith