William Hill profit at top of forecasts

William Hill, Britain's biggest bookmaker by market value, reported full year operating profit at the top end of expectations, benefiting from a strong performance from its online business and gambling machines.

The company, which has around 2,300 betting shops in Britain and Ireland, on Friday said operating profit for the year to 29 December rose by seven percent to £276.8m.

"This is a strong performance and, in particular, our online business and the gaming machines in our shops have performed very well in the year," chief executive Ralph Topping said in a statement.

William Hill on Tuesday secured an injunction to protect its relationship with key software provider Playtech following reported takeover interest from rival Ladbrokes .

The company said on Friday it remained committed to the success of the joint venture.

Ladbrokes last week reported a 20 percent rise in full year operating profit, at the upper end of expectations, as new gambling machines and in-play betting proved popular.