William Hill full-year operating profit falls 10%

Company said trading in the seven weeks to February 14th showed positive trends

William Hill, which operates almost 2,400 betting shops, has struggled to keep up with rivals in online gambling

William Hill, which operates almost 2,400 betting shops, has struggled to keep up with rivals in online gambling

 

British bookmaker William Hill said on Friday its annual operating profit fell 10 per cent as challenging trading conditions and unfavourable soccer results late in the year took their toll.

The company, which is searching for a new chief executive and has struggled to find a partner in a consolidating industry, said trading in the seven weeks to February 14th showed positive trends.

Operating profit for the 52 weeks to December 27th fell to £261.5 million (€309.8 million) from £291.4 million. Revenue rose 1 per cent to £1.6 billion.

William Hill, which operates almost 2,400 betting shops, has struggled to keep up with rivals in online gambling and its board lost patience with chief executive James Henderson last summer after two years in the job.

Betting companies face tighter regulation and higher taxes in countries such as Britain and are having to adapt to an environment in which younger and more tech-savvy gamblers are increasingly betting online or via smartphone.

Full-year revenue in its online business fell 3 per cent, the company said. However, it said it had seen encouraging improvement in online in the recent weeks.