Corporate By William Hill PLC

William Hill PLC - Preliminary Results

William Hill PLC (William Hill or the Group) (LSE: WMH) announces its preliminary results for the 52 weeks ended 30 December 2008 (the period).

Financial highlights 52 weeks ended 30 Dec 2008 
53 weeks ended 1 Jan 2008 
% change vs 2007 
(53 weeks)
% change vs 2007 
(52 weeks)
Gross win* 1,022.5 988.4 +3% +6%
Net revenue* 963.7 933.6 +3% +6%
- Retail gross win 837.9 802.6 +4% +7%
- Online net revenue 125.1 113.0 +11% +13%
Operating profit** (pre-exceptional items) 278.6 286.7 -3% -1%
Earnings per share–basic (pre-exceptional items) 45.4p 47.4p -4%  
Earnings per share–diluted (pre- exceptional items) 45.1p 47.0p -4%  

*See p5 for explanation of gross win and net revenue
**Profit before interest, tax and exceptional items

Highlights for the period to 30 December 2008

  • Robust trading performance in 2008, strong performance in last 11 weeks of 2008
  • Strong recovery achieved in online business with 11% growth in net revenue and 18% increase in active accounts
  • William Hill Online launched on 30 December 2008, creating one of Europe’s leading online betting and gaming businesses
  • New, enhanced online Sportsbook launched, providing richer site content, a full range of in-running betting opportunities, six language options and more local currency betting
  • Tight control of underlying cost base with retail division held at +3%
  • Net debt reduced by £86m to £1,022m, reflecting continued strong cash generation


  • Previous bank facilities of £1.45bn, with the majority maturing in March 2010
  • Funding requirement reduced to approximately £1.2bn
  • New bank facilities obtained that, together with the Group’s £250m existing bank facility, in aggregate, will provide funding of £838.5m
  • Refinancing completed by fully underwritten rights issue to raise approximately £350m (net of expenses) on the basis of 1 new ordinary share for every 1 existing ordinary share
  • Decision to issue equity driven by the dramatic deterioration in credit markets since August 2007, which has resulted in banks seeking to reduce their overall lending to borrowers. This has not made it possible for William Hill to refinance the Group’s existing bank facilities in full in the bank market
  • Net proceeds of rights issue will be used to pay down borrowings and will therefore strengthen the Group’s balance sheet and improve the Group’s credit profile
  • William Hill will not be paying a final 2008 dividend and expects to recommence with the 2009 interim dividend

Ralph Topping, Chief Executive of William Hill, commented:

“Despite the continued deterioration of market conditions and the associated pressures on the consumer, the Group has continued to perform well. The refinancing, combined with a focus on strong cost discipline, capital management and an enhanced online offering, mean that we will be financially and operationally stronger with a more robust balance sheet as we continue through this difficult economic period. William Hill is well placed to meet these challenges, with a resilient business model that we will continue to strengthen by widening our customer base and tailoring the products and services to meet customers’ betting and gaming needs.”

Analyst and investor presentation

9.00 a.m. 
Smeaton Vaults
The Brewery
Chiswell Street 
London EC1


Live conference call:
Tel: 0800 634 5205
Int’l: +44 (0) 20 8817 9301

Archive conference call:
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7769 6425
Int’l: +44 (0) 20 7769 6425
PIN: 1577020#
(available after the meeting until Friday, 6 March 2009)

Available live and, until
27 February 2010,
as an archive

William Hill PLC Ralph Topping, Chief Executive Today: tel +44 (0) 20 7404 5959
Thereafter: tel +44 (0) 20 8918 3600
Simon Lane, Group Finance Director
Lyndsay Wright, Head of IR
Brunswick Fiona Antcliffe / Deborah Spencer Tel: +44 (0) 20 7404 5959


Notes to editors:

William Hill is one of the UK's leading betting and gaming companies. It is one of the UK's largest bookmakers, and also operates in Ireland, with a total of approximately 2,300 LBOs in the UK that provide betting opportunities on a wide range of sporting and non-sporting events and, in the UK, offer gaming machines. The Group’s online business, William Hill Online, is one of the leading European online betting and gaming business by profitability, providing sports betting, casino games, poker, bingo, numbers betting and skill games.

Cautionary note regarding forward-looking statements

These results include statements that are, or may be deemed to be, "forward-looking statements". These forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology, including the terms "believes", "estimates", "anticipates", "expects", "intends", "plans", "goal", "target", "aim", "may", "will", "would", "could" or "should" or, in each case, their negative or other variations or comparable terminology. These forward-looking statements include all matters that are not historical facts. They appear in a number of places throughout these results and the information incorporated by reference into these results and include statements regarding the intentions, beliefs or current expectations of the directors, William Hill or the Group concerning, amongst other things, the results of operations, financial condition, liquidity, prospects, growth, strategies and dividend policy of the William Hill and the industry in which it operates.

By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties because they relate to events and depend on circumstances that may or may not occur in the future and may be beyond William Hill's ability to control or predict. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance. The Group's actual results of operations, financial condition, liquidity, dividend policy and the development of the industry in which it operates may differ materially from the impression created by the forward-looking statements contain in these results and/or the information incorporated by reference into these results. In addition, even if the results of operations, financial condition, liquidity and dividend policy of the Group and the development of the industry in which it operates, are consistent with the forward-looking statements contained in these results and/or the information incorporated by reference into these results, those results or developments may not be indicative of results or developments in subsequent periods.

Other than in accordance with its legal or regulatory obligations (including under the Listing Rules, the Disclosure and Transparency Rules and the Prospectus Rules), William Hill does not undertake any obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statement, whether as a results of new information, future events or otherwise.

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