William Hill PLC - Interim Results
William Hill PLC (the 'Group') today announces its results for the 26 weeks ended 1 July 2008 ('the period').
Financial highlights include the following:
- Gross win for the Group was up 4% to £516.0m (2007: £498.2m)
- Good performance from Retail with gross win up by 5%
- Online gaming gross win increased by 21%
- Online sportsbook gross win returned to year-on-year growth in Q2 2008 and sportsbook technology project on track to be fully implemented by November
- Profit on ordinary activities before finance charges and exceptional items down 10% to £145.1m (2007: £161.2m) in line with expectations. The decrease was principally due to the incremental costs of Turf TV and a disappointing results-driven Telephone performance
- 11 outlets currently opened in the Madrid area and on target to have over 130 outlets secured by the year-end in Madrid and the Basque region
- Cash generated from operations before tax and interest down 22% to £148.4m (2007: £189.7m) which represents 102% (2007: 118%) of operating profit
- Adjusted basic earnings per share (EPS) pre exceptionals down 18% to 23.5 pence (2007: 28.6 pence) and basic EPS post exceptionals down 23% to 22.9 pence (2007: 29.7 pence)
- Total pre-tax exceptional items of £2.2m comprising an impairment recognised on disposal of our Italian joint venture of £1.4m and internal reorganisation costs associated with last year's cancellation of the NextGen project of £2.5m, partly offset by sale and leaseback profits of £1.7m
- Interim dividend of 7.75 pence per share (2007: 7.75 pence per share) payable on 5 December 2008 to shareholders on the register on 26 October 2008
In the four weeks to 29 July 2008, the Group's gross win was down 1%, mainly reflecting poor horseracing results in the last week of this short period. As ever, as short a period as this, is never a guide to longer term prospects.
Commenting on the results, Charles Scott, Chairman, said:
"The Group has continued to make progress during the first half of the year with results in line with expectations. So far, we have seen little evidence that our business has been impacted by the economic downturn.
However, our business now generates more income from online gaming and betting and from gaming machines in the LBOs than ever before. It is difficult to predict how these income streams will fare in a continuing adverse economy, albeit the business has been resilient to date.
Nevertheless, the Board remains comfortable with the current range of market expectations. Accordingly, the Board proposes to maintain the long term dividend cover policy and pay an interim dividend of 7.75p."
|Ralph Topping, Chief Executive||Tel: +44 020 8918 3910|
|Simon Lane, Group Finance Director||Tel: +44 020 8918 3910|
|Nilay Patel, Corporate Finance Manager||Tel: +44 020 8918 3736|
|Deborah Spencer, Brunswick||Tel: +44 020 7404 5959|
There will be a presentation to analysts at 08:30 am today at the Lincoln Centre, 18 Lincoln's Inn Field, London WC2. Alternatively, it is possible to listen to the presentation by dialling + 44 1452 541 076 using the conference code 57277200#.
The presentation will be recorded and will be available for a period of one week by dialling + 44 1452 550 000 and using the replay access number 57277200#.
The slide presentation will be available on the Investor Relations section of the website: www.williamhillplc.co.uk.