Results go the right way for William Hill

 

When 25-1 shot Encke beat hot, 5-2 on, favourite Camelot in the final classic flat race of the season, the St Leger, at Doncaster last autumn, it was the bookies not the punters laughing all the way to the bank.

Similarly, Chelsea and Bayern Munich drawing 1-1 at full time in the Champions League Final, England’s nil-nil draw with Italy in the Euros and Bubba Watson’s victory in the US Golf Masters were all big days for the betting industry.

Such a run of form helped William Hill to a 20% surge in operating profits on a 12% rise in revenues in 2012, it said today. Chief executive Ralph Topping said: “The fourth quarter delivered a strong end to an already good year in 2012. Performance was robust in retail, and profits continued to grow strongly in online, with sporting results going in our favour in both channels.”

William Hill Online’s revenues rose 27% but bets over the counter in shops were down by 1%. That was partly offset by a 5% increase in the amount wagered in slot machines in shops. The group said it expects to complete the £454 million takeover of Sportingbet’s Australian and Spanish operations within the next couple of months, giving it critical mass in both markets.

The shares today put on 14.85p, or 4%, to 381.25p.

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