William Hill owner reports decline in revenue, 888 CEO emphasizes need for improved financial performance

William Hill owner reports decline in revenue, 888 CEO emphasizes need for improved financial performance

Per Widerstrom, the chief executive of 888, addressed the company’s financial performance as they revealed that revenue for the group had decreased by eight per cent to £1.71 billion in the previous year. This decrease was mainly attributed to moving away from unregulated markets, resulting in a revenue reduction of approximately £80 million, and the impact of affordability checks in the UK. In the fourth quarter, 888 recorded a revenue of £424m, which was five per cent higher than the previous three months but down seven per cent compared to the same period the previous year. However, the number of active customers increased by five per cent compared to the previous year. To combat the financial challenges, 888 has implemented a cost savings program of around £30m, which began in December. Adjusted earnings for this year are expected to be at the low end of the consensus range of £340m-£397m. Widerstrom highlighted the company’s efforts in strengthening compliance, refining marketing investment approach, and focusing on recreational customers to enhance sustainable and profitable growth.

Widerstrom took over as the chief executive in October, following a turbulent period for the company that included the departure of the previous CEO and 888 veteran Itai Pazner. Widerstrom acknowledged the exciting opportunities and importance of adapting to changes in regulation and technology. The company aims to position itself for future success by reducing overhead costs and reallocating funds to support growth based on their new strategy and value creation plan. The goal is to improve the financial performance of the group, establish a leaner and more effective organization structure, and improve management of the customer and product life cycle. These plans are expected to result in higher profits and material value creation in the coming years.

The executive team at 888 has also undergone changes recently, with the appointment of Sean Wilkins as the new chief financial officer, set to begin on February 1. Widerstrom expressed confidence in the strengthened executive team and their ability to refine the strategic framework, translate it into a value creation plan, and deliver deleveraging and strong shareholder returns in the future.

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