18 Feb 2021

SkyCity Entertainment profits slump

12:17 pm on 18 February 2021

Casino operator SkyCity Entertainment has posted a slump in profit as Covid-19 hammered its earnings.

Sky City logo

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The company's net profit for the six months ended December was $78.4 million, compared with $328m the year before, although the previous result was boosted by big one off gains.

Stripping out those one-time items, and smoothing out volatility in the international business, meant the underlying profit was down almost 42 percent to $43.7m.

SkyCity chief executive Michael Ahearne said it was a mixed result given the challenging environment and the effects of Covid-19 restrictions.

"Our local gaming and casino business has actually been pretty resilient when we're open, whilst tourism-related businesses such as hotels, food and beverage and of course the international business have been very challenging."

One highlight of the half year had been the performance of SkyCity's Online Casino which launched in 2019 via a subsidiary in Malta.

"We now have about 30,000 active customers online and we expect to see that continue to grow," Ahearne said.

He welcomed a review being carried out by the Department of Internal Affairs into online gaming in New Zealand, which could result in a change to regulations allowing SkyCity to operate an online casino locally in future.

The company also reported on progress of the International Convention Centre and Horizon Hotel construction, which was badly damaged by fire in October 2019.

It now expected the hotel would not be finished until the first half of 2022 and the convention centre the end of 2023.

"Whilst the delays are disappointing, SkyCity continues to work closely with Fletcher Construction to bring the project to completion as soon as possible," Ahearne said.

In the near-term, the company's main focus would be on navigating the uncertain environment created by Covid-19.

New chief financial officer appointed

The company announced Thursday it had found a new chief financial officer after the departure of Rob Hamilton.

Hamilton was one of three executives to announce his resignation in November along with chief executive Graeme Stephens and chief marketing officer Liza McNally.

His replacement is Julie Amey who will join the casino operator from Shell Australia in May.

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