Friday 23 March 2018

William Hill off loads Australian division

William Hill
William Hill

Ravender Sembhy

William Hill is to sell its Australian business for AU $300m (€189m) to CrownBet following a gambling crackdown in the country.

A ban on credit betting and the likely introduction of a point of consumption tax in a number of states have put profits under pressure at the bookmaker, leading it to announce a strategic review of its Antipodean operations in January.

Today William Hill boss Philip Bowcock said: "We are pleased to announce the sale of William Hill Australia to CrownBet.

"The disposal will allow William Hill to focus on continuing to grow our UK online and US businesses."

Money from the sale will be used to pay down debt and invest in other parts of the business.

William Hill Australia booked revenues of AU$201m last year and earnings of AU$47m.

But in February William Hill detailed a £238.3m goodwill impairment following what it described as "adverse tax and regulatory changes" in Australia and additional charges linked to the costs of a group-wide transformation programme.

It pushed the company to a £74.6m loss in the year to December 26 on a statutory basis, tumbling from a profit of £181.3m a year earlier.

Press Association

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