Corporate By William Hill PLC

William Hill PLC - Preliminary Results

Announcement of preliminary results

William Hill PLC (the 'Group') today announces its results for the 53 weeks ended 1 January 2008 ('the period').

Highlights include the following:

  • Gross win up 6% to £983.7m (2006: £931.3m)
  • Profit on ordinary activities before finance charges and exceptional items down 2% to £286.7m (2006: £292.2m)
  • Cash generated from operations before tax and interest down 1% to £310.7m (2006: £313.9m) which represents 108% of operating profit
  • Adjusted basic earnings per share (EPS) pre exceptionals up 4% to 47.4 pence (2006: 45.5 pence) and basic EPS post exceptionals down 2% to 44.7 pence
  • Total pre-tax exceptional items of £14.2m comprising NextGen non-cash impairment charge of £20.9m and sale and leaseback profits of £6.7m
  • Proposed final dividend up 7% to 15.5 pence per share (2006: 14.5 pence per share) payable on 5 June 2008 to shareholders on the register on 2 May 2008
  • The Group has purchased 7.9m shares for £46.0m via on-market share buybacks in the period
  • In the seven weeks to 19 February 2008, the Group's gross win has increased by 4%, against a strong comparative period

Commenting on the results, Charles Scott, Chairman, said:
"2007 has seen the Group deliver a solid performance in light of the additional cost burden from a full year's charge for Amusement Machine Licence Duty (AMLD) and the competitive market environment in which our Interactive business operates.

Taking the main channels in turn:-
Looking forward to 2008 we remain confident in the prospects for our largest business - the Retail channel - which despite the incremental costs of Turf TV will be driven forward by continued machine income growth, the full year impact of evening opening, targeted investment in estate development and our ongoing focus on underlying cost control.

We expect 2008 to be a transitional year for the Interactive channel as we make the necessary investments to lay the foundations for future growth. The most significant of these is the replacement of our Interactive sportsbook technology system with the new, more flexible ORBIS platform. We will also be focusing on exploiting the opportunities available to our online gaming business.

I am pleased to welcome Ralph Topping as our Chief Executive. Ralph joined William Hill in 1973 and has held various positions within the company, including most recently Group Director, Operations and previously Retail Operations Director and Internet Director. He brings a deep knowledge of the business and more than 35 years of industry experience to the role.

In line with our progressive dividend policy, the Board is proposing to increase total dividends for the year by 7%."


Ralph Topping, Chief Executive Tel: +44 020 8918 3910
Simon Lane, Group Finance Director Tel: +44 020 8918 3910
Nilay Patel, Corporate Finance Manager Tel: +44 020 8918 3736
Deborah Spencer, Brunswick Tel: +44 020 7404 5959


There will be a presentation to analysts at 9.00 am today at the Lincoln Centre, 18 Lincoln's Inn Field, London WC2. Alternatively, it is possible to listen to the presentation by dialling + 44 20 7138 0820 using the conference code 3492762£. The presentation will be recorded and will be available for a period of one week by dialling +44 20 7806 1970 and using the replay access number 3492762£.

The slide presentation will be available on the Investor Relations section of the website:

See Full Press release