$52m profit for gondola owners

STUNNING OUTLOOK: The view over a snowy Queenstown from above the Skyline Gondola.
STUNNING OUTLOOK: The view over a snowy Queenstown from above the Skyline Gondola.

One of the country's largest tourism businesses, Skyline Enterprises, is "quietly confident" of growth this coming year.

The company, headquartered in Queenstown, held its dividend at 37 cents a share for the March 2014 year because of spending overseas on luge operations.

Skyline Enterprises yesterday posted a financial result summary for the March 2014 year, booking $52.8 million before-tax profit which was boosted by several unusual items.

The company's new chairman, Mark Quickfall, said the trading result was on a par with the previous year.

For most years Skyline had increased its dividends to its about 800 shareholders but this year the company had been "a little bit prudent", he said, in the light of capital costs of developing luge operations in Calgary, Canada and in Korea. It held the dividend at 37c a share, the same as the previous year.

The total distribution was $12.6m.

Skyline shares traded at $11.50 yesterday on the Unlisted exchange.

Quickfall said it was difficult to forecast for the next 12 months but its business plans and budgets included growth expectations "so we are quietly confident".

Removing revaluation, amortisation, tax deferred on building depreciation and insurance money from the March 2014 trading profit resulted in $25.3m of earnings compared with $26.2m the year before, Skyline said.

Significant differences between the years was due to an increase in commercial property values of $7.8m, insurance proceeds from the Christchurch Casino of $10.9m and a reduction in writeoff of goodwill as well as full ownership of Christchurch Casino.

The Queenstown division of the business, which includes the gondola and luge activities, enjoyed increased trading with gondola numbers above last year's record high.

The company's Sentosa luge operation contributed about the same as the previous year. The luge operation at Mont Tremblant, Canada, achieved an improved result but the Calgary luge operation experienced issues with consenting and operations which had been resolved, and a better result was forecast. The consenting of another luge operation in Korea was progressing, with an opening planned for next year.

Patronage at Christchurch Casino was still below pre-earthquake numbers but improving. Repairs to roads and other infrastructure had at times made access to the venue difficult. But the casino was in the same precinct as the new restaurants, bars and other hospitality being established in Victoria St.

The casino has opened a new entertainment venue where demand was greater than capacity on weekends.

Quickfall said the hospitality businesses on Victoria St were working together to keep the area safe.

The Press