It has been a mixed response from the City to William Hill latest trading update. The bookmaker reassured investors it was on track to deliver full year expectations as revenues were boosted by online and US businesses.
The group still faces hurdles including a decision on amounts allowed in fixed odd betting terminals. However, the 2018 FIFA World Cup (for which England has qualified) is hoped to provide a boost.
The market was not hugely encouraged by the latest numbers from William Hill, in mid-morning trading the share price was down slightly to 275.60. Broker analyst, Peel Hunt has the share as sell.
However, despite the hurdles identified, The Share Centre recommends William Hill as a ‘buy’ for higher risk investors
Graham Spooner, investment research analyst at The Share Centre, explains what the latest figures from William Hill mean for investors:
“Bookmaker William Hill reassured the market that it was on track to deliver market expectations for 2017, courtesy of a boost in revenues in its online and US businesses. Indeed, the group noted that the online business had performed particularly well, with UK wagering 14% ahead of last year, even without a major football tournament.
Major cost cutting
“There’s no denying that the sector has been under pressure from politicians and intense competition. This has led to William Hill attempting to cut costs for the year by around £40m. Today, it highlighted that it is continuing to make good progress with this and it is on track to deliver.
“Indeed, the group’s Chief Executive Philip Bowcock commented that this is ‘supporting reinvestment in its business, including marketing increases in H2 to promote its online services and customer experience’.
“The company’s strategic priorities include growing its UK market share, international growth and improving technology. However, it faces two big hurdles which include a decision in the UK on the amount gamblers will be allowed to put in their fixed odds betting terminals as well as conclusions from the US over betting regulations.
“If the group can position itself to successfully overcome these, then next year’s FIFA World Cup could give the company, as well as the wider sector, a much need boost.
He added “Due to the potential for further growth in mobile wagers, expansion into overseas markets and the prospect of further efficiencies within the business, we continue to recommend William Hill as a ‘buy’ for balanced investors. The highlighted potential for further regulatory changes, along with increased taxes remain concerns so we regard the stock as higher risk.”