Tingle: Australia And New Zealand Gaming Stocks; Beancounter Special

Written by:
Greg Tingle
Published on:
Feb/27/2011

G'day punters, gaming and casino millionaires, billionaires, beancounters and everyone else. Today we look at whose numbers and up, down and steady. Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com and Gambling911 with your beancounter special for the weekend...

Crown Limited Profit Up 33%...

James Packer’s Crown Ltd (ASX:CWN) has reported a 33% lift in its first half net profit. The casino, hotel and gaming operator says net profit increased to $153 million while revenue lifted just 0.8% to $1.2 billion in the 6 months to 31 December, 2010. Crown says growth in non-gaming and main floor gaming revenues at its casinos in Perth and Melbourne offset a weaker performance from VIPs. An interim dividend of 18 cents per share has been declared. Shares in Crown fell 1.79 per cent to close at $8.23.

SkyCity Entertainment: New Zealand Based Media Darling Attracting High Rollers; Boosting Profits...

High rolling VIP's greatly assisted a lift to NZ based casino operator SkyCity Entertainment Group’s revenue since New Year but its traditional gaming machine revenue is also growing strongly. SkyCity advised revenue in the first 6 weeks of the calendar year was up more than 9%. Chief exec Nigel 'Money Man' Morrison told the press stripping out its international, or VIP, business, revenue was up 6% or 7%. "International adds a bit of cream to that. Auckland, Hamilton, Darwin have all been good for us – Adelaide’s been flat." The Auckland casino, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of first-half operating earnings, had a rotten first quarter. Its first-half revenue was down slightly and operating earnings fell 3.6% to $96.9 million. The company said Auckland’s second-quarter gaming revenue was up 5% and that momentum has continued since. Operating earnings from its next biggest asset, its Darwin land based casino, fell 13.4% in Australian dollar terms, understood to reflect the impact of the smoking ban introduced in January last year. Morrison said historically it's taken between 18 months to 2 years for casinos to recover from the imposition of smoking bans. "If we can do it with 18 months we would be pretty pleased," he said. The modest Auckland and Darwin results contributed to a 5.5% fall in overall net profit to $67.1 million in the six months ended Dec. 31. The October increase in GST added nearly $3 million in costs while the year-on-year comparison was also damaged by earnings from the cinemas business, sold in February last year, being included in the year-earlier result. On a normalised basis, profit was up 2% while revenue rose 2.6% to $447.7 million. The latest results were more or less in line with analysts’ expectations and the company reiterated previous guidance that "we would be disappointed if we did not achieve normalised NPAT (net profit after tax) of $127.4 million for the 2011 financial year." Consensus forecasts are currently about $130 million for the full-year. Experts and industry analysts advise more time is needed to get the full picture of what's in store. In addition, the Chinese New Year period x factor and Oriental high roller whales and larger dolphins are in the mix of Sky City patrons. While the share market reacted negatively to begin with, marking down the shares 8 cents to $3.25, they gradually recovered and are currently 2 cents higher at $3.35. The shares have traded between $2.79 and $3.45 during the last 12 months. One of the firms smaller casinos, the Adelaide land based found its revenue up just 0.7% but its operating earnings were up 5.9%, boosted by strong 12% bar and restaurant sales growth which offset a 2.9% in revenue generated from gambling - gaming machines. Morrison advised the retail environment in Australia has softened and is especially weak in Adelaide. "It’s going to be pretty tough for the next six months at least." SkyCity’s Hamilton casino jumped earnings 3.1% while the contribution from its Queenstown and Christchurch operations was flat. The outfit is well advanced on a number of projects which will be completed in time for the expected flow of 85,000 plus visitors for the Rugby World Cup, Morrison said. SkyCity will pay a first-half dividend of 8 cents per share, unchanged from last year, at the upper spectrum of the company’s policy to distribute between 60% and 70% of net profit. The company has introduced a dividend reinvestment plan allowing shareholders to take shares at either the market price or a discount up to 5% at the company’s discretion.

Sportingbet: Aussie - British Connection Serving Bottom Line Well...

We are not big fans of them, but you have to give the devil's their due. They are performing well, both in the UK and down under. Pommie online gambling co Sportingbet (SBT.L) reported an increase in second-quarter earnings on Thursday and said strong growth in Australia, Turkey and its emerging markets had offset weakness in Europe. The company said EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) rose to 14.5 million pounds ($23.5 million) in the three months to end January from 13.6 million the year before. "Strong growth in Australia, Emerging Markets and Turkey more than offset the recessionary weakness of Europe, particularly notable in our larger markets of Greece and Spain. This demonstrates the attractiveness of a geographically diverse operation," said chief executive Andy McIver. Sportingbet is paying an interim dividend of 0.6 pence, up from 0.5 pence the year before. Shares in Sportingbet closed on Thursday at 45 pence, valuing the business at 228 million pounds.

Aristocrat Leisure: Gaming Company Comeback Of The Decade?...

Go Aussie Go, who they have so quickly recovered from being down in the dumps (share price and image) over the past year or so is anyones guess (unless you might be too close for your own good), but you have to hand it to these guys. They even got the IGT (International Game Technology) legal case sorted (or stopped the leaks). Aristocrat Leisure has announced profits of $54.6 million for the 2010 full year and says its turnaround program is on-track to deliver growth in 2011. The operating profit was down from the $116.4 recorded for 2009 but in-line with its November guidance to the market. Aristocrat revealed that 2010 had been a challenging year for the group but added that the business was only 18 months into a 5-year turnaround program to deliver a much sustained improvement in performance. Significant headwinds, including the generally weak market conditions and ongoing strength of the Australian dollar, dampened reported results for 2010. CEO and managing director Jamie Odell said he was encouraged by the progress the company had seen in these markets where it has delivered new generation games and more competitive products with state of the art technology. "Our impressive widescreen innovation in North America helped the group achieve value and share growth in the outright sale segment in 2010, despite a double-digit fall in overall demand," he said. "The fee per day performance of our new gaming operations products is also very encouraging, and significantly ahead of the average fee per day performance of our legacy products. "Portfolio quality is key to performance improvement. As a result, we expect to continue to see faster progress in those markets such as North America where our turnaround program is more advanced, than Australia and Japan." Shares in Aristocrat have rallied since the announcement and were trading at $3.26 at 1pm today (Feb 25), up from $3.04 a full week days ago. The firm is looking good.

Other International Stocks (17th Feb): Credit Google News, Wires / Agencies...

MGM Resorts International

MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM) slid 0.40% to $15. The stock has a 52-week range of $8.92-$16.94. The stock has average daily volume of 26.20 million shares. At current market price, the market capitalization of the company stands at $7.33 billion.

Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd

Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd (NASDAQ:MPEL) is down 0.48% to $7.30. Melco Crown Entertainment Limited is a developer, owner and, through its subsidiary Melco Crown Gaming, operator of casino gaming and entertainment resort facilities focused on the Macau market. The stock opened at $7.26 and is trading within the range of $7.25-$7.33.

Las Vegas Sands Corp.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS) added 0.19% to $48.36. The stock has a 52-week range of $15.50-$55.47. The stock has average daily volume of 26.80 million shares. At current market price, the market capitalization of the company stands at $33.11 billion.

Boyd Gaming Corporation

Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE:BYD) is up 0.69% to $11.70. The stock opened at $11.61 and is trading within the range of $11.55-$11.74.

Take the time to research and learn games before placing down money

Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com Casino News Media  and Gambling911 are website portals. Not casinos as such, however are recognised as world leading websites that cover the sector and act as central points to games, news, reviews and more.

Readers... er, punters, how did you like our report? Tell us in the forum. 

If you have a bet, please bet with your head, not over it, and for God's sake, have fun.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. Gaming is just one of a dozen sectors covered

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited

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