2020 Final Results

 

Relentless focus on Customer, Team, Execution delivered solid results as technology and product improvements gained traction, alongside our continuing commitment to player safety

 

William Hill PLC (LSE: WMH) (‘William Hill’ or the ‘Group’) announces its final results for the 52 weeks ended 29 December 2020 (the ‘period’ or ‘2020’). Comparatives relate to the 52 weeks ended 31 December 2019.

 

Statutory results1

Adjusted results1

 

52 weeks to

29 Dec 20
£m

52 weeks to

31 Dec 19
£m

Change
%

52 weeks to

29 Dec 20
£m

52 weeks to

31 Dec 19
£m

Change
%

Net revenue

1,324.3

1,581.7 

-16%

1,324.3

1,581.7 

-16%

Profit/(loss) before interest and tax2

80.3

12.9

>+100%

57.3

147.0

-61%

Profit/(loss) before tax2

51.0

(37.6)

-

9.1

96.5

-91%

Earnings/(loss) per share (EPS) (p)3

6.2

(3.1)

-

2.3

10.7

-79%

Dividend per share (p)4

-

2.66

-

 

 

 

Strategic and operational highlights

  • Strong finish to a challenging year with convincing momentum across our digital businesses
    • Strategic focus on Customer, Team, Execution materially improving competitiveness
    • Global diversification increased: 36% Group net revenue originated outside the UK (2019: 24%)
    • Net revenue fell 16%: Covid-19 pandemic led to disruption of live sporting events, closures and restrictions to Retail and casinos, partially offset by growth in online gaming
    • Online delivered 9% net revenue growth:
      • International grew net revenue 16% and expanded into new territories
      • Platform and product launches for UK Online benefitted the second half, generating record net revenue for the year of £503.2m
    • Retail responded to pandemic restrictions with agility and resilience; net revenue fell 51%, -30% on a like-for-like5 basis
    • US expanded nationwide presence through market-leading partnerships, maintaining a robust market position and grew net revenue 32%
    • Adjusted operating profit2 £57.3m fell 61%: impacted by disruption to sporting calendars, Retail and casino closures, partially offset by strong performance from digital channels
    • Statutory profit before tax of £51.0m: benefitted from the VAT receipt of £208.3m, more than offsetting the Retail non-cash impairment of £125.7m and costs of £70.4m associated with the cash offer from Caesars Entertainment, Inc. (Caesars)
  • Balance sheet strengthened through actions to raise capital and preserve liquidity
    • Thoughtful cash preservation: final dividend and employee bonuses cancelled; covenants waived; disciplined cost management
    • Net debt/EBITDA68x: below the 1-2x target following an equity placing raising £218.6m net proceeds and successful VAT refund claim
  • Regulation and customer protection
    • Regulatory risk remains ever-present in Europe and the UK; engaging stakeholders to promote fair and balanced regulatory ecosystems
    • Substantially enhanced player protection with increased guardrails and rapid digital compliance
  • Recommended cash offer of 272p per share by Caesars (the ‘Acquisition’)
    • Reflects the attractive position of the William Hill brand and significant progress made by the Group over the last 18 months, together with its long-term growth opportunities
    • Valuing William Hill equity at c.£2.9 billion recognises the investment required to maximise the US opportunity, the possibility of regulatory disruption in the UK and Europe, and the uncertainty related to the longer-term impact of the Covid-19 pandemic

Ulrik Bengtsson, Chief Executive Officer, commented: “We began the year well and finished the year even stronger, highlighting the traction generated by our strategic focus on Customer, Team, Execution. In what was an extraordinary year I am immensely proud of how the Group has responded and the resilience we have seen in our performance. We prioritised the protection and safety of both our colleagues and our customers, and our employees went above and beyond for which I thank them.

“In 2020 we put our strategic plans firmly into action, diversifying our geographical footprint, expanding our team’s capabilities and rebuilding our technology. We are embedding proprietary components across the platform architecture and are delivering a constant flow of new features including faster product experience, improved navigation and greater protection to our customers around the world.

“The performance in the second half is clear testimony that our strategy is bearing fruit. In the UK, the competitive position of our online offerings for both gaming and sports has been materially strengthened, and our omni-channel product is delivering encouraging early results. Retail has undergone regional disruption although where stores did re-open, they quickly traded towards pre-Covid levels.

“We are delighted with our International Online performance, where our investment in our product and technology is producing clear benefits, particularly in light of the regulatory headwinds in Germany and temporary restrictions elsewhere. We will continue to benefit from our agile marketing engine, and the recent agreement to acquire Alfabet S.A.S. in Colombia and our licence in Argentina both offer further promising growth opportunities in Latin America.

“The US traded well into the year-end, concluding the year with 19% market share and delivering a profitable return. Our partnerships have ensured that brand awareness has risen, our product offering has expanded, and our end-to-end proprietary tech is facilitating rapid new state openings.

“As William Hill embarks on a new chapter, we will continue to prioritise the protection of our customers. The UK Government has commenced the gambling review and we will engage with the relevant stakeholders to encourage evidence-led legislation that finds the right balance to keep our customers safe within a well-regulated ecosystem, to secure the tax base and to secure the industry. The William Hill brand remains highly regarded and is well-positioned for its future under new ownership. I am indebted to my colleagues and employees, who have made this happen and realised such value for our shareholders.”

Notes:

  1. Both the statutory and adjusted results include the performance of Mr Green since the acquisition completed in January 2019.
  2. Adjusted operating profit/loss is defined as profit/loss from continuing operations before interest and tax, excluding exceptional items and other defined adjustments. Further detail on adjusted measures is provided in note 3 to the financial statements.
  3. Basic EPS is based on an average of 967.4 million shares for 2020 and an average of 873.0 million shares for 2019 after an equity placing in June 2020 led to the issue of 174.9 million shares. Adjusted EPS is based upon adjusted profits after tax.
  4. The final 2019 dividend was cancelled in 2020.
  5. Where like-for-like (LFL) results are stated, this compares the trading performance of the shops that were open and trading in 2020 (subject to Covid-19 restrictions) to their 2019 performance. During 2020 when the full estate was closed due to Covid-19 the 2019 comparator was included. As shops re-opened on a phased basis from week 24 the comparator was only included from the first full week of trade (daily for weeks 24 to 26).
  6. Net debt for covenant purposes and EBITDA for covenant purposes are non-statutory measures. The basis of the calculation is as described in note 25 to the financial statements within our Annual Report and Accounts 2020.
  7. When referring to states this includes Washington D.C.
  8. Where US staking or wagering are cited, it is based on total US$ amounts wagered through both direct and indirect channels.
  9. Where pro-forma results are stated, this assumes Mr Green was consolidated into the Group at the start of January 2019, in order to provide a more meaningful comparator period.
  10. We now report the combined US Existing and US Expansion business as William Hill US.
  11. PwC 2021: Review of unlicensed online gambling in the UK.
  12. European Gaming and Betting Association and H2 Gambling Capital, h2gc.com.
  13. Caesars Entertainment, Inc. scheme document https://investor.caesars.com/static-files/69f966f5-ff04-4dcb-a87f-971ab920a09d

 

Enquiries

   

William Hill

Louise Turner-Smith, Director of Investor Relations

Alison Cole, Director of Corporate Communications

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7612 3251

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7612 3233

Brunswick

Andrew Porter / Samantha Chiene

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7404 5959

OAM: Additional Regulated Information

William Hill LEI: 213800MDW

41W5UZQIX82

 

About William Hill

William Hill PLC is one of the world's leading betting and gaming companies, employing c12,000 people. Its origins are in the UK where it was founded in 1934, and where it is listed on the London Stock Exchange. Approximately two-thirds of its £1.3bn annual revenues are derived from the UK, where it has a national presence of licensed betting offices and is one of the leading online betting and gaming services. William Hill's European Online business is headquartered in Gibraltar and Malta and is licensed online in 13 countries following the acquisition of Mr Green & Co AB in January 2019. In 2012, it established William Hill US with a focus on in-person and mobile operations in Nevada and became the largest sports betting business in the US. Following the ruling in May 2018 by the Supreme Court that the federal ban on state sponsored sports betting was unconstitutional, William Hill US has grown and continues to expand as new states regulate sports betting. It is now operating in 15 states: Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington D.C. and West Virginia. Caesars Entertainment, Inc. currently owns shares representing 20% of the share capital of William Hill US Holdco, Inc., the holding company of William Hill US.

 

Cautionary note regarding forward-looking statements

This announcement includes 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 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 a guarantee 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 contained 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 Market Abuse Regulation (596/2014), the Listing Rules, the Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules and the Prospectus Rules), William Hill does not undertake and expressly disclaims any obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

 

Download the Full 2020 Final Results in PDF format