Bookmaker William Hill offloads Australian business

William Hill is to sell its Australian business for 300 million Australian dollars (€188.7 million) to CrownBet following a gambling crackdown in the country.

A ban on credit betting and the likely introduction of a point of consumption tax in a number of states have put profits under pressure at the bookmaker, leading it to announce a strategic review of its Antipodean operations in January.

Today, William Hill boss Philip Bowcock said: "We are pleased to announce the sale of William Hill Australia to CrownBet.

"The disposal will allow William Hill to focus on continuing to grow our UK online and US businesses."

Money from the sale will be used to pay down debt and invest in other parts of the business.

William Hill Australia booked revenues of 201 million Australian dollars last year and earnings of 47 million Australian dollars.

But in February William Hill detailed a €150 million goodwill impairment following what it described as "adverse tax and regulatory changes" in Australia and additional charges linked to the costs of a group-wide transformation programme.

It pushed the company to a €47 million loss in the year to December 26 on a statutory basis, tumbling from a profit of €114 million a year earlier.

PA

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