Update on Telephone Business
William Hill PLC (LSE: WMH) (William Hill or the Group) announces that William Hill Online is to establish a new Telephone betting operation based in Gibraltar. At the same time, the Group’s Telephone betting subsidiary, William Hill Credit Limited (WHCL), will close its operation in the UK.
William Hill Online, together with an outsourced service provider, Vertex, a leading global BPO and Customer Management Outsourcer, will continue to service all William Hill Telephone customers. It is proposed that Vertex will take over the Sheffield-based call centre currently run by WHCL and that William Hill Online will also manage customers from Gibraltar. Customers will benefit from an improved service, including being able to use their Telephone betting account for online transactions. WHCL’s second call centre in Leeds will close, with all staff being offered alternative positions. The Group has, today, entered into a 90-day period of consultation with those employees affected by the closure. William Hill continues to have a substantial presence in the UK and Ireland, including more than 2,300 licensed betting offices and around 16,000 employees. It paid £265m in UK taxes and levies in 2009.
The Group expects to implement these changes during the fourth quarter of 2010 with associated cost savings of approximately£4-7m per annum expected to commence from the start of 2011. The cost of implementation in 2010 is expected to be approximately £7m, of which approximately £5m will be incurred as an exceptional item.
Although William Hill Online is a joint venture between William Hill PLC and Playtech Limited, future Telephone business profits/losses will be retained by William Hill, with the exception of an annual Telephone betting support fee of £0.5m payable to Playtech.
William Hill’s existing Telephone betting business made a loss of £1.8m in 2009 and a small operating loss is anticipated to be made in the first half of 2010.
Ralph Topping, Chief Executive of William Hill, commented:
“This significant change to our Telephone business is a response to the challenge of competing with betting exchanges and offshore telebetting operators, all of whom have benefitted from significant cost and tax advantages over UK bookmakers. This has made it impossible for our existing business to compete profitably from the UK.”
William Hill PLC
Ralph Topping, Chief Executive
Neil Cooper, Group Finance Director
Lyndsay Wright, Director of IR
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8918 3614
Simon Sporborg / Justine McIlroy
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7404 5959
About William Hill
William Hill is a leading betting and gaming company. It is one of the UK’s largest bookmakers, with around 2,300 shops in the UK and Ireland that provide betting opportunities on a wide range of sporting and non-sporting events and, in the UK, offer gaming machines. William Hill Online provides internet-based sports-betting, casino, poker and bingo, and is one of the leading European online betting and gaming businesses operated by a listed company.
About William Hill Credit Limited
Approximately 400 people are based at call centres in Sheffield and Leeds. WCHL pays 15% gaming duty on its gross profit and a further 10% on profits from UK horseracing, as well as VAT and corporation tax. Offshore operators typically pay no or very low taxes and no horseracing levy. In 2009, William Hill’s Telephone betting business recorded a loss of £1.8m and a 25% decline in net revenue.
About William Hill Online
William Hill Online is a leading international online betting and gaming business. It employs approximately 400 people based primarily in Gibraltar, Israel and Bulgaria. It offers a full range of online betting and gaming services at williamhill.com, including sports-betting, poker, bingo and casino products. William Hill Online is a joint venture owned by William Hill PLC (71%) and Playtech Limited (29%).