King of the Hill
By philip
William Hill, the U.K.ís second biggest bookmaker, is celebrating its admission to the FTSE 100 index, which ranks it amongst Britainís top hundred companies. Its entry, which was facilitated by the recent merger of healthcare group Amersham with US giant General Electric, will make it the third newcomer to the FTSE in 2004, following the promotion of Chilean mining group Antofagasta and pubs group Enterprise Inns last month.

Hillís entry into the big league follows a recent announcement of a massive 77% increase in profits and that its share prices have doubled since it was listed on the London stock market in June 2002. The bookmaker has benefited of late from the introduction of fixed odds terminals in its shops ands a lucrative Cheltenham Festival, but also from the establishment of person-to-person poker in its online casino in January 2003, and the creation of foreign language websites to help reach a global customer-base progressively throughout the year.

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