William Hill CEO Ralph Topping Rubbishes Early Exit Rumours
Bookmaker said it expects annual results to be in line with market forecast William Hill

Bookmaker William Hill delivered an upbeat outlook for 2016 after revealing on 14 January its operating profit for the past 12 months is forecast to be broadly in line with market expectations.

FTSE 250-listed William Hill said it expects its operating profit for the year to 29 December to amount to approximately £290m ($418.2m, €382.9m), while the company's gross win margin in the three months to 29 December was also in line with forecasts.

The group added net revenue from its core online gaming markets, including the UK, Italy and Spain, rose 14% from the corresponding period in 2014, while, on a year-on-year basis, total retail amounts wagered climbed 1.0% and net revenue advanced 2.0%, driven higher by a strong performance in the group's online division.

William Hill added it has rolled out a new Macau-focused online gaming product, while the so-called Project Trafalgar, aimed at redesigning the digital betting platform on its mobile app, had also got under way.

"Online has seen some disruption around the implementation of Project Trafalgar, but we are rapidly addressing that," said group chief executive James Henderson.

"I am optimistic the advantages that Trafalgar give us will drive growth, particularly as we gain flexibility and increase our ability to differentiate."

Citing strong performances in the US and growth in Australia, Henderson said the company remained positive over its outlook for 2016.

"Retail has delivered another resilient performance, our US business continues to grow strongly and I am encouraged by the performance of the William Hill brand as the growth engine of the Australian business," he added.

Meanwhile, the company revealed Andrew Lee, the group's head of online operations, will be leaving the group later this year, bringing his four-year spell with the company to an end.

Lee, whose departure follows that of former finance director Neil Cooper and former chief marketing officer Kristof Fahy, who joined rival Ladbrokes, will be temporarily replaced by Crispin Nieboer, who has been named as interim managing director of online operations.