SkyCity NZ CEO Says Key Goal ‘Just To Stay Open’

One of its key goals for next year is ‘just to stay open’ with a two-year path to recovery envisaged by its CEO, the New Zealand casino company SkyCity Entertainment Group has said.

Chief Executive Graeme Stephens, speaking at the company’s virtual AGM, said: “It’s really only 2022 that we expect to be back under full strength. We feel well-positioned to ride out what is ahead of us. I think it will be FY2022 before we have any realistic prospects of [getting back to] where we were in FY19. We will not be paying an interim dividend. If we’re able to stay open and trade we are anticipating a final dividend of FY21. We understand how important it is to our shareholders.”

He does not expect that ‘for at least a year,’ foreign investment will return, adding: “We won’t be spending a lot of capital. Let’s just get through this period and position ourselves for a future beyond this.”

Mr. Stevens highlighted that the Sky City New Zealand International Convention Centre fire was another problem in 2019/20. “The year started off really well in the first quarter, we were on track for a record, but the fire came,” he explained. “We were going really well again by January/February and then we all know what happened next. We restructured and downsized.”

He clarified that the performance of Auckland after the second lockdown was consistent with trading under alert level 2 during May and June, with the cost of the lockdown falling in Auckland in the $20 m area.

He said that while SkyCity Online casino continued to trade positively with around 25,000 first time depositors as of September, Hamilton, Queenstown and Adelaide continued to trade ahead of expectations.