William Hill PLC (LON: WMH) announced a trading statement for the unaudited 53 weeks ended 1 January 2019.
The Group’s full-year adjusted operating profit1 for 2018 from continuing operations is expected to be c£234m, c15% down on 2017. This is in line with guidance, which was for 2018 operating profit to be in the range of £225m-£245m. Underlying operating profit increased c4% year on year, excluding the impact of enhanced customer due diligence measures in Online and US Expansion costs.
During the year Online delivered a good underlying performance. There was excellent growth in the US Existing business and the Group invested in rapid expansion as US states regulated sports betting, and we are now live in seven states. Overall the US business broadly broke even in 2018 after allowing for significant expansion costs. As anticipated, Retail profits reduced year-on-year, challenged by wider high street conditions.
Philip Bowcock, CEO, commented:
“2018 was a pivotal year for both William Hill and the wider industry. We now have greater clarity around the key challenges and opportunities for our business. In 2019 we will remodel our Retail offer while building a digitally-led international business, underpinned by a sustainable approach as part of our Nobody Harmed ambition. With rapid expansion underway in the US, building on profitable foundations, and the acquisition of Mr Green nearing completion, we look forward to making further progress this year.”
The Group’s 2018 final results will be announced on Friday, 1 March 2019.