An industry analysts is being cautious on the performance of William Hill ahead of the bookmaker’s interim results on Friday. Nicholas Batram of Peel Hunt said that he expects first-half EBITA to fall to around £172.1 million, largely due to retail’s poor performance.
Given the industry has struggled in the first half of the year, with sporting results favouring the consumer, Batram thinks that the World Cup might have just filled the gap and rates the stock as a ‘hold’. “Despite lower gross win margins we still expect online to show bottom-line growth and, importantly, a further expansion in customer numbers. Like all online groups, it will be interesting to see whether new customers acquired during the World Cup actually deliver a decent return.
‘The industry goes through cycles of favourable and unfavourable legislative developments and sports results. We are definitely in the latter, the question is how close to the end are we? With a general election next year and high-street bookmakers a political football, the uncertainty has further to run.”