William Hill H1 profit down

By Tom Lewis
William Hill has reported a 12% fall in profit for the 26 weeks ending 30 June 2015.

The operator has attributed the year-on-year decrease in operating profit from £176.9m to £155.7m to an additional £44m in gambling duties from the point-of-consumption tax and an increase in Machine Games Duty (MGD) from 20% to 25%.

The PoC regime requires operators to pay a 15% tax on gross gaming revenue arising from UK-facing business.

Pre-tax profits decreased 35% in the first six months of the year compared to the same period in 2014, while profit after tax fell from £98.6m to £69.5m.

Publishing its H1 statistics this morning, William Hill also reported a slight increase in net revenue, in spite of the H1 figures for 2014 rolling over the 2014 World Cup.

Net revenue grew year-on-year from £805.2m to £808.1m.

Group finance director Neil Cooper linked a decline of around £10m in retail profit to the fact that 2014 was a World Cup year, and added that: “We closed around 108 shops, or around 4% of the estate in the second half of last year.”

James Henderson, chief executive of William Hill, said: “We have delivered a good operational performance in the past six months during a period of significant regulatory and taxation change for the industry.

“Whilst factors such as the POCT and the increase in the MGD rate have impacted our cost base as expected, we continue to progress our strategy and invest in our long-term growth drivers.”

The operator also announced today its extension into the online lottery market with the acquisition of a 29.4% stake in NeoGames for £16m.

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