Bookmaker William Hill has released its financial results for 2019, a year which it has described as “transitional”.
Over the course of last year, group revenue declined by 2% – totalling £1.58 billion.
Last year, the operator restructured various online trading divisions. William Hill also purchased Sweden’s Mr. Green, which increased net company debt to £535.7 million.
Due to restructuring costs and more, operating profits dropped by 37% in 2019. These reached £147 million. It was reported that group performance exceeded management expectations.
Revenue outside of the UK continued to grow, with one example being the US. In this market, net revenue went up by 38%. Of the US sports betting market’s share, William Hill also holds just under a quarter (24%) of this.
Ulrik Bengtsson, Group CEO, shared his thoughts on the company’s performance last year. These were as follows.
“2019 was a year of transition during which we executed on our ambition to diversify internationally with the acquisition of Mr Green and the continued strong growth of our US business. The Group delivered a strong operating performance, ahead of our expectations and against a challenging regulatory backdrop.”
He also added that William Hill is in a “stronger position” going forward. Bengtsson also acknowledged the continued diversification of revenue sources.
“Almost a quarter of revenue is now generated outside the UK compared to 15% in 2018. We made positive progress with our digital platform, launching our purpose-built platform in the US and product developments in the Online business in 2019.”
UK credit card ban: could impact the company
William Hill’s efforts to expand beyond the UK will no doubt become more important this year. Upon releasing its financial results, the company warned that the incoming credit card ban could cause it to miss out on £10 million.
Last year, the operator also closed over 700 retail branches throughout the country.
Bengtsson concluded his update to investors by looking ahead to what lies in store for 2020.
“We will invest in our proprietary technology as we continue to improve the competitiveness of our customer offering. We have also made great progress embedding a culture of safer gambling across the Group.”
“This is an exciting time to be William Hill’s CEO. Our industry is evolving and this brings great opportunities, underlining the importance of our efforts to re-position the business. We look forward to building on these foundations with a renewed focus on customer, team and execution.”