William Hill
William Hill has expressed the intention to continue to invest in its online division next yearMike Egerton/ PA

William Hill's plans to turn around its online sector began to pay dividends as the business returned to growth in the second half of the financial year, helping the bookmaking giant to record an increase in revenue in the six-month period.

In the 17 weeks to 25 October, the FTSE 250-listed group saw overall revenue grow 6% year-on-year, boosted by a strong performance in its Australian and US markets, which recorded a 59% and 81% increase in revenue respectively.

Meanwhile, revenue in the online business, which had been beset by issues earlier this year, was 4% higher than in the corresponding period a year ago as the amount wagered online in the first six months of the year grew 6%.

Philip Bowcock, the group's interim chief executive, said the bookmaker remained on track to record full-year profit at the top end of its guidance forecasting a figure between £260m ($326m) and 280m, indicating the company would continue to invest in its online business next year.

"Looking forward, we remain on track to deliver 2016 operating profit at the top end of our guided range," he said.

"With our significantly improved products and user experience, we are confident that this is the right time to invest further in our online business."

The company has examined a number of merger offers, in a bid to keep pace with the ever-evolving nature of the sector, which has seen a number of its rivals join forces over the last 12 months. Last year, GVC, owner of Sportingbet, outbid 888 to clinch its purchase of Bwin, while Paddy Power and Betfair completed their merger in March, creating a company with a revenue of more than £1bn.

Meanwhile, earlier this month, Ladbrokes and Gala Coral completed their merger, after clearing the final regulation hurdle.

However, last month William Hill shareholders walked away from a proposed £4.6bn merger with Canadian group Amaya, while in August Britain's largest bookmaker turned down a takeover offer worth £3.2bn from gambling groups Rank Group and 888, claiming the offer "substantially undervalued" the business.