FTSE250 William Hill Plc released its full-year results for 2019 on Thursday, reporting a 2 percent drop in company sales to £ 1.58 billion (FY2019: £ 1.6 billion).
The bookmaker has branded 2019 as a’ transformative year’ in which it has restructured its three core online, retail and US trading divisions.
Struggled retail changes related to store closures and redundancies saw William Hill report extraordinary £ 134 million expenses, as the betting company struggled to soak up costs related to the £ 2 FOBT stake cut from the UK government.
The implementation of a number of expected restructuring costs led to a decrease of 37 percent to £ 147 million in operating profits in 2019, though company performance was retained ahead of management expectations.
Company CEO Ulrik Bengtsson updating investors commented: “2019 was a year of transition during which we executed on our ambition to diversify internationally with the acquisition of Mr Green and the continued strong growth of our US business. The Group delivered a strong operating performance, ahead of our expectations and against a challenging regulatory backdrop.”
At the conclusion of its full-year 2019 results, William Hill Governance announced company statutory pre-tax losses of £ 38 million compared to the £ 720 million loss of FY2018–the year in which the FTSE bookmaker launched its business-wide restructuring plan, resulting in the closing of 700 UK betting stores.
Highlights in 2019, William Hill maintained confidence in online performances with’ three consecutive quarters of growth,’ further supported by Mr Green’s assets performing’ in line with expectations,’ achieving cost synergies of £ 4 million in its first year of full integration.
Despite handling continuing shocks related to FOBT stake reduction, William Hill said retail sportsbook wagering saw an average weekly staking rise of 6 percent across its self-service betting terminals.
The FTSE betting company reaches 2020 retaining a cash flow of £ 183 million, while corporate net debt is increased to £ 535 million representing its business restructuring expenses, US acquisitions and Mr Green’s acquisition.
“We move into 2020 in a stronger position,” Bengtsson added. “Almost a quarter of revenue is now generated outside the UK compared to 15% in 2018. We made positive progress with our digital platform, launching our purpose-built platform in the US and product developments in the Online business in 2019.
“We will invest in our proprietary technology as we continue to improve the competitiveness of our customer offering. We have also made great progress embedding a culture of safer gambling across the Group.”
He concluded: “This is an exciting time to be William Hill’s CEO. Our industry is evolving and this brings great opportunities, underlining the importance of our efforts to re-position the business. We look forward to building on these foundations with a renewed focus on customer, team and execution.”