William Hill looks to raise £350m - Tuesday 3rd of March 2009

UK bookmaker William Hill says it is to raise £350m ($496m) in a rights issue as it addresses a "dramatic deterioration" in its credit markets.

William Hill has around 2,300 shops in the UK and Ireland.

It said the current credit conditions made it impossible to refinance in full in the bank market.

The bookmaker revealed operating profits for the 52 weeks to 30 December of £278.6m ($393m), down 3% from the 53 weeks to 1 January 2008.

Chief executive Ralph Topping said the group continued to perform well, despite the continued deterioration in consumer confidence.

Football betting performed particularly well in spite of a poor Euro 2008, with favourable results in the second half of the year.

This football success offset the effects of a poor Royal Ascot and unfavourable horse racing results.

Meanwhile, website business William Hill Interactive produced operating profits of £54.6m, up 7% on the previous year.

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