Today, the British gambling operator William Hill published a trading statement for the year ended on December 26th, 2017 sharing its expectations for its full-year profit. The company further hinted that it may be considering a possible sale of its Australian assets due to tougher regulatory regime.
According to the operator’s preliminary expectations, its annual adjusted profit for the past year is to increase by 11% in comparison to the 2016 result, reaching an estimated of £290 million, with this result being larger than analysts’ expectations. William Hill shared that the company’ performance was boosted by favourable sporting results and strong trading over the past few weeks.
The British bookmaker revealed that online betting operations continued to generate growth, while betting volumes in land-based betting outlets declined. On the other hand, trading momentum remained strong both in the operator’s domestic market and in the US, with a double-digit growth registered in the US.
The Chief Executive Officer of William Hill, Philip Bowcock, explained that the company had delivered a strong result in 2017. According to him, the results over the past 52-week period reflected the bookmaker’s focus on the online operations’ performance, the US market growth and the efforts to provide an attractive omni-channel solutions.
The Fate of William Hill’s Australian Assets
As mentioned above, apart from the preliminary expectations for the 2017 full-year results, William Hill also revealed that it may consider a possible disposal of its Australia-based assets. The British bookmaker shared that the regulatory crackdown in the country, due to which higher taxes on gambling operators were imposed, as well as a credit betting ban had negative influence on the performance of its Australian business.
The company explained that the credit betting ban in Australia and the possible implementation of a special Point-of-Consumption tax in some of the country’s states would surely hurt profitability. The tighter regulation in the country has put a lot of overseas operators under pressure, so William Hill may take strategic measures to offset negative impact on its overall performance by selling off its assets in the country.
Only a couple of months ago, in November 2017, William Hill revealed that it had entered preliminary talks for a possible deal with its rival operator in Australia – CrownBet. At the time when the announcement was made, the British bookmaker said that there was still no certainty about the merger between CrownBet and the local assets of William Hill. One person with knowledge of the negotiations projected that a deal between the two operators may not be given the not soon, as the talks were still at an early stage.
The news of the preliminary talks between the two companies came only a few days after the British bookmaker provided its market update. It is yet not clear whether the merger negotiations with CrownBet will continue or not, especially considering the fact that the company hinted it could dispose of its Australian operations.