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New Zealand operator SkyCity Entertainment blamed dropin first-half profit on faling New Zealand dollar value

New Zealand - Operations

New Zealand operator SkyCity Entertainment blamed a fall in first-half profit fell on the New Zealand dollar’s strength against the Australian dollar, but remained overall optimistic about the year’s outlook. First-half net profit dropped to NZ$61.1m (US$50.1m) in the six months to December 31, from NZ$66.3 million in the year- earlier period.

AUSTRALIA - AINSWORTH SIGNS QUIXANT DEAL Ainsworth Game Technology has signed an agreement with Quixant who will supply the slot manufacturer with a new series of computer platforms for its gaming machine prod- ucts until 2019. Under the terms of the agreement, Quixant will supply Ainsworth with a new series of computer plat- forms for its gaming machine products for five years.

The new agreement extends Quixant’s already strong rela- tionship with Ainsworth for the supply of specialised com- puter gaming platforms, supporting the ongoing success of their gaming machines, since 2007.

Danny Gladstone, CEO of Ainsworth, said: “Quixant and Ainsworth have both experienced several years of strong growth and we are pleased to be extending this relationship. Our A560 range of gaming machines is delivering class lead- ing performance in jurisdictions worldwide.”

Nick Jarmany, CEO of Quixant, added: “Quixant has enjoyed a strong and lengthy relationship with Ainsworth and we are very proud to continue to be the supplier of computer gam- ing platforms to drive their exciting range of gaming machines. We are delighted to have extended this supply relationship with a company known for its high performing gaming machines and look forward to many more years of mutual benefit.”

MACAU – RECORD RESULTS DRIVE SANDS CHINA Las Vegas Sands reported record fourth-quarter results for its Asian business with net revenue up 18.8 per cent to $3.66bn and income up 31.9 per cent to $886.1m. Sheldon Adelson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said: “It’s no wonder that analysts and journalists say we lead the market by far. I am extremely pleased to report outstanding quarterly financial results that reflect continued strong growth in rev- enue, cash flow and earnings per share. The focused and consistent execution of our global growth strategy, which leverages the power of our convention-based Integrated Resort business model, is clearly being reflected in our finan- cial results.”

Total net revenues for Sands China increased 28.4 per cent to $2.53bn in the fourth quarter of 2013, compared to $1.97bn in the fourth quarter of 2012. The Venetian Macao continued to enjoy Macau market-leading visitation and financial performance. The property delivered record adjust- ed property EBITDA of $433.4m, an increase of 30.1 per cent compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. Non-Rolling Chip drop increased 86.7 per cent to reach a property record $2.27bn for the quarter with Non-Rolling Chip win percent- age of 25.2 per cent. Rolling Chip volume during the quarter increased 32.3 per cent to reach $16.76bn. Slot handle was $1.30bn, increasing slightly compared to the fourth quarter of 2012.

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SkyCity Chief Executive Nigel Morrison said that while 1H14 had been a challenging period due to the high New Zealand Dollar and continued soft consumer spending on both sides of the Tasman, solid progress had been made in establishing the platform for growth and the outlook for 2H14 is encouraging. “The first half of 2014 has seen SkyCity make significant progress in securing future growth and certainty with the conclusion of agreements with the New Zealand and South Australian governments on regulatory and taxa- tion concessions,” he explained. “We are now actively working to gain the benefit of these con- cessions as soon as possible. We also entered the ASX 200 for the first time in December 2013.”

First half reported profit of $61.1m, is $5.2m lower than that in 2013. “This is largely due to the cur- rency impact and the loss of $2.3m earnings fol- lowing the disposal of SkyCity’s 50 per cent share

in Christchurch Casino for $80m in December 2012,” Mr. Morrison explained.

Other significant factors that negatively impacted the first half result included lower turnover during the second quarter of 2014 in international busi- ness due to the timing of visits of a number of large players from Asia, a softer 1first half per- formance in Hamilton, disruption to Adelaide’s main casino due to refurbishment, and flat per- formance in Darwin’s core gaming business.

The operator described trading in January 2014 as

‘pleasing’, with revenues above prior year in all businesses. Normalised revenue in January 2014 was 11.9 per cent above prior year and even including the impact of the strong NZ$, actual nor- malised revenue is up 5.4 per cent on January 2013.

International business performed well in January, with the last 12 months’ turnover reaching $5.7bn, up from $5.4bn at December 2013.

Auckland had a relatively soft month in the prior year, however it benefitted from good table games growth and conventions revenues in January 2014.

Johor Minister denies reports of Malaysia second casino location

MALAYSIA Despite rumours of a second casi- no in Malaysia gaining in strength in the local media, Malaysian politicians have issued a firm denial regarding the speculation. The media has speculated that a growing number of sources are pointing to a second casino devel- opment in Danga Bay in the region of Johor Baru.

Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, Chief Minister of Johor, however confirmed that he had not received any application, pro- posal or plan for a casino and if he had, he would not approve it. He added that even if the federal gov- ernment approved such a devel- opment, the state government would reject it.

A report in mid-December specu- lated that Malaysian businessman and Cardiff City Chairman Tan Sri Vincent Tan wanted his company Berjaya Assets to develop land at

Johor Baru into a ‘huge entertain- ment resort with a chain of high- end restaurants and posh clubs, possibly spiced up with slot machines.’

However, Berjaya Assets Bhd refuted the reports. “The board would like to formally state that there is no truth to the speculation regarding the possibility of the company being given the right to operate a gaming establishment akin to a casino in Johor,” the company stated.

Malaysia is home to just one casi- no; Genting’s Resorts World Malaysia. The operator is in the process of investing RM3bn (US$958m) in renovating its mountain top casino resort as the group looks to bring it in line with the standards set at the group’s newer operations in Singapore and The Philippines. The aim is to double the profit at the 42-year- old venue.

Macau Sociedade de Jogos de Macau is looking to reopen the gaming floor at its Macau Jockey Club having closed it almost a decade ago. The Jockey Club’s previous casino was operational only on race days when it offered a handful of tables and slots before being relocated in 2004 to the Grandview Hotel. The Jockey Club’s CEO, Thomas Li Chu Kwan, revealed that the casino is now being refurnished and will open to the public as soon as it is approved by the government. The Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau added that the exact number of tables and slots involved wouldn’t be announced until after the renovation. Macau operators have been allowed to freely redistribute their quota of gaming tables following the table cap in 2010.

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