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William Hill Shows Strong Q3 Online Performance

19th October 2009 8:41 am GMT

As the company nears completion of the integration of its online business with Playtech, William Hill plc has said that net revenues from William Hill Online for the 13 weeks ended 29 September 2009 were 56% higher than the same period last year or 2% higher on a pro forma basis.

Due to adverse sporting results, net revenue from William Hill Online sportsbook fell 36% in the third quarter despite a 40% increase in turnover, with a net revenue margin of 3.2% compared to 7% a year ago.

The company also reported growth in its online casino, poker, bingo and games business, with third quarter net revenue from gaming activities increasing 98% year-on-year or 12% on a pro forma basis. The company added that it expects to launch its new Playtech powered casino before the end of the month.

William Hill Online operating profit suffered however as a result of unfavourable sporting results, falling 21% on a pro forma basis in the third quarter, bringing the total for the year to £46 million.

The company added that it expects to save approximately £4 million this year following the transfer of its online sportsbook and fixed-odds games to Gibraltar, with the favourable tax regime there expected to deliver costs savings of approximately £10 million on an annualised basis.

In the retail segment, William Hill saw over-the-counter gross win fall by 21% in the third quarter with a gross win margin of 15.4%, again as a result of unfavourable sporting results, although turnover for the period was also down. Overall, the company reported an 11% fall in retail gross win.

In the telephone segment, net revenue fell 34% year-on-year and now accounts for just 3% of Group net revenues.

"Business volumes both in our shops and online since the beginning of the football season in mid-August have been good with strong turnover in our online Sportsbook and encouraging levels of recycling in Retail," said Ralph Topping, Chief Executive of William Hill.

"In addition, our machine business continues to perform well. In what has, to date, been an extraordinary year for sporting results, football and horseracing affected us again in August and into September but margins have returned to more normal historic levels since then."

"William Hill Online is continuing to make good progress with especially strong growth in Sportsbook volumes. With the launch of our new Playtech casino before the end of October, integration of our acquisition will be complete."

Shares in William Hill Plc (Co. Profile) (LSE:WMH) are trading up 6.77% this morning in London following the announcement at 172.00 pence per share.

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