In the first half of the year, UK bookmaker William Hill reported an 8 per cent increase in group operating profit following a number of acquisitions that allowed it to expand its operations to Australia.
According to Reuters, the company has spent nearly £900m ($1.36bn/Eur1.02bn) to take full control of its online operations, by acquiring the remaining 29% Playtech held in William Hill Online and purchase Sportingbet – a move that allowed it to access the Australian market.
The 8% increase accounted towards a total of £181.4m in operating profit for the 26-week period up to July 2. Revenues at the firm also grew 20% to £751.6m.
Ralph Topping, chief executive of William Hill, said in a statement: “We are excited by the opportunity we see to develop William Hill Australia by improving our digital offer and targeting the recreational customer. Taking control of online is giving us more freedom both to invest and to use that expertise across the group, including in Australia.”
William Hill’s shares have risen 70% in the last year, while the firm’s market capitalisation of more than £4.2bn has made it Europe’s largest gambling company. It is now also ranked in the FTSE 100 of leading British companies – a factor that has helped it draw in additional investors.