Jan 15, 2018

William Hill weighs sale of Australia unit

William Hill is considering a sale of its Australian business after the UK-based bookmaker complained that a regulatory crackdown will put pressure on profits in the country. William Hill said: "Given the credit betting ban in Australia and the likely introduction of a point of consumption tax in a number of states, it is clear that profitability will increasingly come under pressure and therefore we are undertaking a strategic review of our Australia business." In recent years, William Hill has engaged in talks with online gaming groups including 888 Holdings and Amaya, which has since been renamed Stars Group, but is yet to secure the sort of transformative deal completed by its British rivals. On Monday, William Hill said adjusted profits for 2017 were 11 per cent higher than in the previous year, above forecasts at about £290m, buoyed in part by a good result for the company from football and horseracing results. Greg Johnson, a leisure industry analyst at Shore Capital, the investment group, said that though business in Australia "Remains challenging", William Hill's trading update was "Encouraging, most notably acceleration online, where underlying amounts wagered were ahead double digit".

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