Brent Walker debates future of William Hill
Friday 25 April 1997
William Hill has 1,700 betting shops and could be worth pounds 500m. Its turnover rose 6.2 per cent last year while profits rose by 30 per cent to pounds 50.3m. Trading since the beginning of the current year had been encouraging, Sir Brian Goswell, chairman, said yesterday. The introduction of fruit machines and numbers betting had made a significant contribution but the betting services industry remained volatile, he said.
The options open to Brent Walker include floating William Hill on the market, reversing it into a shell company, finding a merger partner or looking for a trade sale. Bass, the breweries and hotels group that owns the Coral chain with 930 betting shops in the UK, is widely regarded as a potential buyer.
Group turnover at Brent Walker rose by 4 per cent to pounds 1.73bn last year, on which the company made a profit of pounds 216.5m before interest and tax. The results were helped by the sale of its Pubmaster chain of public houses for pounds 171m last November and by settling thedispute over the value of the William Hill betting business it bought from Grand Metropolitan, the giant food and drinks group, in 1989.
Brent Walker received a net payment of pounds 36m from the settlement with Grand Met. However, the dispute with Brent Walker's former chairman, George Walker, over the sale of its French vineyard in 1989 cost the group pounds 3.28m.
Brent Walker still has debts of pounds 1.5bn and interest charges cost pounds 165.9m last year. The company's loan agreements with its bankers run out at the end of this year and the company must sell its remaining asset or renegotiate its debts. If it decides to retain William Hill, this would require the banks agreeing to extend the current facilities, Sir Brian said.
The shares rose 0.75p yesterday to 2p.
- 1 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 2 Emma Watson on Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak: 'Even worse than seeing women's privacy violated is reading the comments'
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Perez Hilton apologises for publishing Jennifer Lawrence naked 4Chan photos
Jennifer Lawrence 'nude photo hacker' claims there are hundreds more celebrity images to come
Victoria Justice on naked photo leak: 'Let me nip this in the bud right now – pun intended'
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: Pictures are completely fake, say representatives
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain
iJobs Money & Business
£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Executive Assistant/Event...
£30000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Generalist (standalone) - Tunbrid...
£600 - £800 per day: Harrington Starr: Derivatives Risk Commodities Business A...
£600 - £800 per day: Harrington Starr: Power & Gas Business Analyst/Subject Ma...