Having served central London bookmaker William Hill as its chief financial officer (CFO) since October 2017, Ruth Prior will step down from her role to join privately held materials testing business Element Materials Technology, as CFO. According to earlier projections, the gambling operator was expected to record annual profit of around £130 million.
"We made good progress on a number of fronts, including our retail business, online and in the U.S., enabling us to deliver on our long-term strategic ambitions". The operator was required to take action due to more than 700 William Hill betting shops being forced to close in 2019.
In a trading statement for 2019, the bookmaker said adjusted operating profit from continuing operations is expected to be in range of GBP143 million to GBP148 million, ahead of market and management expectations.
The company said it made good progress despite a challenging regulatory backdrop which saw its retail business hit by a heavy reduction in the maximum stake for fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs).
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It has acquired all of William Hill's 33 shops in the North and two in the Isle of Man as part of the deal.
In an update for the year to the end of December, the company said its retail business generated operating profit above the guided range of £50m to £70m as it experienced "particularly favourable" sporting results in December, above the long-term gross win margin range.
United Kingdom online revenues grew in line with market expectations over the quarter, while net revenue was broadly flat in its worldwide online business. The global online segment put in a mixed performance, meanwhile, with net revenue expected to be broadly flat on a pro forma basis during the fourth quarter. William Hill's global sports betting revenue was weak, but its gaming offering enjoyed good performance driven by Mr Green, the Swedish online gambling group that William Hill acquired early in 2019.
William Hill PLC (LON:WMH) said underlying profits for 2019 will be ahead of market expectations after a bunch of sports results went in its favour in December and with strong early growth at its USA business.