William Hill pulls out of its Spanish joint venture selling it for just one euro

WILLIAM HILL, the bookmaker, completed its withdrawal from Spain yesterday when it sold its 50 per cent stake in its Victoria Apuestas joint venture for just one euro.

The British firm sold the stake to its Spanish partner Codere Group.

William Hill decided that the slow granting of local regulatory consents, along with slower than hoped for regulatory changes in regions outside of Victoria Apuestas’s Madrid and Basque core regions, would make it difficult for the joint venture to achieve the necessary scale in the timeframe the bookmaker had originally drawn up.

The bookmaker also said in a trading update that its full-year earnings would be at the top end of analysts’ expectations after recent football results recovered from an unusual number of draws earlier in the season.

The firm said gross margin wins for 2009 “returned to the normal 17-18 per cent range” from 15.4 per cent in the third quarter.

Charles Scott, the firm’s chairman since 2004, also said he will step down by the end of the year.