William Hill boosted by online growth

Shares in William Hill have risen following a trading update that showed more growth from its online business.

Britain's largest bookmaker said it expected to report operating profits for the full year of £330m, up from £276m the previous year.

Its profit from online activities was up 36% from the previous year. Full year results will be released on 1 March.

William Hill shares rose 4% in early trading in London.

The company is trying to boost its online presence by buying the Australian arm of online bookmarker Sportingbet and an option on Sportingbet's Spanish business for £454m.

"Performance was robust in retail and profits continued to grow strongly in online, with sporting results going in our favour in both channels," said chief executive Ralph Topping.

The company is currently considering whether to buy out the 29% stake in William Hill Online held by Playtech.

"The market continues to reward those companies which have embraced online business and William Hill is no exception," said Richard Hunter at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers.

"The company's progress has been reflected in a share price which has risen 62% over the last year."

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