William Hill share price falls on disappointing fourth quarter results

on Jan 20, 2015
Updated: Oct 21, 2019

William Hill Plc’s (LON:WMH) share price fell by as much as 5.5 percent in today’s trading session after the company reported that profits had declined in the fourth quarter. An administrative error forced the bookmaker to release its latest trading statement 11 hours earlier than planned after the update was accidentally emailed to analysts.

According to the release, operating profits fell seven percent in Q4 2014, due to “unfavourable” football and horse racing results. The figures follow a bumper second and third quarter, as betting on the World Cup lifted activity at the bookmaker. Gross winning margins fell in the group’s retail and online divisions, but were offset somewhat by an improvement at its Australian unit.
Annual profits, are expected to have risen 11 percent year-on-year to £371 million, as revenue climbed eight percent. The growth was driven by the group’s online arm, which reported an 18 percent increase in net revenue during the 52 weeks to December 30. According to the Financial Times, analysts had forecast the company would report an operating profit of £357 million for the year.

Chief executive James Henderson said as part of the release: “Overall it’s been a good performance in 2014 for the Group, driven by both the continued development of our UK-facing operations and our international diversification, together with a successful World Cup.”
As of 10:31 GMT today, William Hill’s share price stood at 361.40p, down over four percent intraday. The FTSE 250-bookmaker’s stock has risen four percent over the past 12 months.
According to the Financial Times, as of 16 January 2015, the consensus forecast amongst 40 polled investment analysts covering William Hill plc has it that the company will outperform the market. The median target of the 19 analyst offering 12 month price targets is 400.00p with a low estimate of 345.00p and a high estimate of 500.00p.
As of 11:11 GMT, Tuesday, 20 January, William Hill plc share price is 360.65p.

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