Shares of gambling firm 888 rose as the group aims to cash in on more punters choosing to place their bets at William Hill.
The company said 14.9 percent of UK online gamers were using William Hill at last count, up from 14.1 percent a year earlier. While activity has increased, customers are spending less on average.
Peel Hunt analyst Ivor Jones said this trend signals a “shift towards a more sustainable business”.
He explained: “Gamers who spend less are likely to be more ‘recreational’, playing in a way that they are likely to continue to do for a long time.”
Signs of growth at William Hill came as 888 reported a £32.5m loss in the six months to the end of June, having made a £12m profit in the same period last year.
888 said 14.9% of UK online gamers were using William Hill versus 14.1%. While activity is up, customers are spending less on average
The company was hit by rising costs, including a one-time charge related to the acquisition and integration of William Hill, which it bought for £2bn last year.
Group revenue fell 7 per cent to £881.6m, but this beat expectations. The betting group also said it will now achieve its savings target of £150m by 2024, a year earlier than expected.
Shares added 1.6 percent, or 1.8 pence, to 111.4 pence, taking gains for the year to nearly 30 percent.
The company reiterated its forecast that this year’s revenue will be below 2022’s by at least 5% amid a slow recovery in the Middle East after the suspension of VIP accounts in January.
Julie Palmer, a partner at business recovery specialist Begbies Traynor, warned that the biggest challenge for 888 could be the cost-of-living crisis and the impact it has had on consumers.
With rampant wage increases fueling fears of further interest rate hikes to curb inflation, the FTSE 100 fell 1.57%, or 117.51 points, to 7,389.64 and the FTSE 250 fell 0. 54%, or 101.68 points, to 18,659.75.
Concerns about a slowdown in the Chinese economy also took their toll, with mining stocks among the hardest hit.
Glencore fell 3.4%, or 14.75p, to 419.05p, Antofagasta lost 3.4%, or 50.5p, to 1,452.5p and Anglo American fell 2.4%, or 49p, to 2,025p on concerns about Beijing’s demand for raw materials.
Stock Monitoring – Abingdon Health
Abingdon Health shares rose after it said its pregnancy test, the first to use a saliva rather than urine sample, will be launched by Tesco later this month.
The company, which made Covid kits during the pandemic, distributes Salistick tests in the UK and Ireland on behalf of the Israeli company Salignostics. Britain’s largest supermarket will launch the product in 298 stores and online.
The shares rose 28.6 percent, or 2.5 pence, to 11.25 pence after a difficult period since listing in 2020.
At the same time, oil prices fell back below $85 a barrel, sending BP down 1.6%, or 7.8 pence, to 473.95 pence and Shell down 1.1 %, or 25.5 pence, up to 2368 pence.
ITV has agreed to buy £2 million worth of shares in pain relief brand, Flarin. As part of the station’s investment strategy, it will use its platforms to help build Flarin’s profile. The shares were down 0.2 percent, or 0.16 pence, at 72.66 pence.
Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group reduced its stake in clothing retailer N Brown from 19.04% to 18.92%. Frasers Group shares rose 0.8 percent, or 6.5 pence, to 811 pence and N Brown was unchanged at 23.05 pence.
Fund manager Abrdn fell 2.8%, or 5.1 pence, to 177.4 pence after UBS and JP Morgan cut their price targets.
Bunzl’s wave of acquisitions accelerated when the group, which supplies products such as paper napkins and latex gloves, acquired three businesses in Spain, the Netherlands and Canada this summer. The shares fell 1.4 percent, or 38 pence, to 2,757 pence.
B&M extended its earnings a day after analysts at Deutsche Bank Research said it was well positioned to tighten its grip on the discount retail industry after Wilko’s collapse. The shares rose 2 percent, or 11.2 pence, to 565.2 pence.
Ultimate Products (UPGS), which owns Salter, one of the UK’s oldest housewares brands, said its revenue rose without raising prices in a sign its products remain affordable.
Sales rose 8 per cent to £166.3m in the year to the end of July.
Revenue in its online division was 64 percent higher than the previous year. The shares gained 3.6 percent, or 4.5 pence, to 128.75 pence.
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