William Hill raises profit hopes

Bookmaker William Hill today said operating profits will be at the top end of forecasts after an improved run of sporting results boosted business.

The company, which has more than 2,350 shops in Ireland and the UK, reported a 22% jump in net revenues for the 13 weeks to September 28 and said positive trading trends had been maintained in the period since then.

Shares rose 4% following the update, although William Hill cooled expectations for next year given higher VAT, economic conditions and government cuts.

Chief executive Ralph Topping said: “The group has performed strongly in the quarter, even taking into account the weak prior year comparatives.”

Last year’s performance was impacted by a winning start to the football season by Chelsea and Manchester United and the low incidence of draws – the bookies’ favourite result.

This year’s start to the football season has been better for bookies, while the third quarter also benefited from the later stages of the World Cup and a continued good performance in machine income.

Mr Topping added: “Given the strong performance seen in the third quarter of the year, the group now expects to deliver operating profit around the top of the current range of analyst forecasts for the year as a whole.”

He said this was dependent on the outcome of sporting results and other factors over the final quarter of the year.

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