William Hill posts £722m pre-tax 2018 loss due to "exceptional charges"

By Matthew Enderby

William Hill has reported a loss of £722m ($956m) before tax for 2018, compared with a profit of £147m for the previous year. This comes despite revenue rising 2% from £1.59bn to £1.62bn.

The operator attributed its loss to costs of £922m, which includes an £882.8m exceptional retail impairment charge following the UK government’s Triennial Review into fixed-odds betting terminal (FOBT) stakes.  

The company continued to expand its US footprint, now live in six states with access secured to 17 in total. It also completed the acquisition of Mr Green for c£242m in January.  

But adjusted operating profit from existing operations declined 3% to £266.8m, although this was in line with company expectations.

Full-year dividend is reported as £0.12 per share, in line with policy to pay out approximately 50% of underlying earnings before US expansion costs.

Philip Bowcock, William Hill CEO, described 2018 as a busy and decisive year for the operator.  

He said: "We know the next few years will require careful navigating and investment, but with a clear strategy and diverse, experienced leadership teams in place, we are ready to capitalise on the opportunities available to us."

This announcement is in line with mixed results from H1 2018, when net revenue increased by 3% to £802.6m.

However, adjusted operating profit declined 12% for the first half of the year, to £113.6m, and profit before tax fell by 13% to £96.3m.


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