(Alliance News) -Â William Hill PLC on Thursday reported a slide in 2020 profit as it prepares for its takeover by Caesars Entertainment Inc to complete.
Net revenue in 2020 fell 16% to GBP1.32 billion as the pandemic led to disruption of live sporting events, closures and restrictions to Retail and casinos, though this was partially offset by online gaming. Online delivered 9% net revenue growth.
William Hill swung to a pretax profit of GBP51.0 million from 2019's GBP37.6 million loss, after taking GBP134.1 million in exceptional items and adjustments in 2019. On an adjusted basis, profit slumped 91% to GBP9.1 million in 2020.
Looking to the year ahead, William Hill said it expects the pandemic will continue to hit the health of the UK high street and affect the ability of US casinos and its retail shops to full open.
"Nonetheless, the momentum that built into the year end, driven by our Customer, Team, Execution strategic priorities, has been maintained into the first quarter of 2021. The US and Online continued to benefit from the product upgrades and the roll-out of our proprietary platform in 2020 and we saw staking during the Superbowl nearly double compared to last year," said William Hill.
The firm added that Caesars' current expectation is that the remaining approvals needed from US gaming authorities will be received in time to allow the acquisition to complete in the second quarter of 2021 and "possibly as early" as March 2021.
In September, US gambling resorts operator Caesars said it reached an agreement to acquire FTSE 250-listed William Hill for GBP2.9 billion, with Caesars to pay 272 pence for each William Hill share under the terms of the deal.
Shares in William Hill were down 0.2% at 270.70p in London on Thursday.
By Lucy Heming;Â firstname.lastname@example.org
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