BoyleSports takes punt on 33 William Hill stores in NI deal

British bookmaker William Hill Plc WMH.L on Monday forecast annual profit ahead of analysts' estimates, powered by favourable sporting results in December, and said it expects its USA business to break-even for the year.

BOYLESPORTS have agreed to buy 33 betting shops in the north from William Hill for an undisclosed sum. She will be joining Elementis Materials Technology.

The group also announced that Prior plans to step down as CFO and as a director to return to the private equity sector.

Shares in gambling firm William Hill (WMH) surged as much as 6% to 195p in early trade after it revealed that operating profits for past year would be "ahead of market and management expectations".

Commenting on her departure, Prior said: "I have enjoyed my time at William Hill and believe that the company is in a strong position to take advantage of many opportunities ahead and deliver improved business and financial performance".

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The UK online business grew in line with the market for the third consecutive quarter. The company pointed out that weakness in online gaming revenue was offset by a strong sports betting gross win margin.

Worldwide online revenues were mixed with the fourth quarter expected to be flat on a year ago. Sports book net revenue was weak while a good performance in gaming was driven by Swedish bookmaker Mr Green.

William Hill added that its United States business continued "strong" growth in the fourth quarter on the back of investment and increased wager size, helping the U.S. arm to break even.

"I am very appreciative of Ruth's support and professionalism since I took on the role as CEO", said William Hill chief executive officer Ulrik Bengtsson. The company said today that during 2019, it made "good progress" towards delivering its long-term strategy to become a "digitally led and internationally diversified business of scale while continuing to embed a culture of responsible gambling". The company said it now expects to be breakeven for its U.S. business, compared to the earlier annual guided loss of up to $20 million. "We look forward to building on these efforts in 2020 with a strong focus on customer, team and execution".

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