SkyCity Hamilton results 'disappointing'

JAMIE SMALL
Last updated 09:37 15/08/2014

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A "disappointing" performance at SkyCity Hamilton contributed to a drop in the company's profit. The casino company posted its annual results to the NZX this week.

"While general economic conditions have been buoyant in Auckland, conditions in Hamilton, South Australia and, to a lesser extent, Darwin have been more challenging. Overall disappointing results for Hamilton for the year," the company said.

It noted that in 2013, SkyCity Hamilton benefited from strong table games performance.

"While still facing a tough environment, some positive signs have emerged in the second half [of full year 2014]." Skycity reported a 4.8 per cent decline in revenue, to $821.5 million, and a 22.6 per cent drop in net profits after tax, to $98.5m.

The company's Hamilton operation showed revenue of $48.3m, a 6.9 per cent drop from its 2013 revenue of $51.9m.

SkyCity Hamilton's general manager Tessa Grant was replaced in April this year by Michelle Baillie.

Baillie has worked for SkyCity since 1996 and has held several senior management positions in the company, varying from casino operations to hotel operations and project management.

Her most recent role was as general manager of SkyCity Queenstown since 2008.

SkyCity chief executive Nigel Morrison said the decline in SkyCity profits and revenue was primarily because of the high New Zealand dollar and ongoing issues with the redevelopment of its Adelaide casino.

"Disruption [in Adelaide] has been significant, and to be fair, more than we expected," he said.

SkyCity said the exchange rate had led operating profit to slide $9.9m, while the the costs from Adelaide contributed $4.4m of the decline.

Work in Adelaide was due to be completed by the first half of 2015.

In a flurry of announcements accompanying the result, SkyCity said it had appointed a new chief financial officer and unveiled plans for a $180m five-star hotel on the site of the New Zealand International Convention Centre. It also released artist impressions of an approved design for the Centre, which is now expected to cost $500m.

To meet those new costs Morrison flagged the possible sale of its carparking building on Federal St in Auckland, which could fetch $35m.

Rob Hamilton, former head of investment banking at First NZ Capital, is the company's new chief financial officer, and will start in October. "There is no doubt Rob's knowledge and expertise will help deliver solid results for our shareholders," Morrison said.

Hamilton will join former Fairfax journalist Colin Espiner, who this week took up the role of SkyCity's head of communications.

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jamie.small@fairfaxmedia.co.nz

- Waikato Times

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