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SKYCITY outlines plans to expand hotels business, Queenstown site

SKYCITY has today expanded on its plans grow its hotels business across its portfolio and develop its Queenstown site in line with master planning across its four New Zealand properties.

The company also detailed opportunities to lease its car parks, to reallocate the capital to grow the hotel business, broaden its entertainment offering and ultimately bring its master plans to fruition.

Chief Executive Graeme Stephens said SKYCITY was making good progress on its expansion plans, including new hotel ventures and more family-friendly entertainment options for Federal Street, and he hoped to be able to share more details with shareholders and the public in the near future.

Mr Stephens said a hotel strategy would almost certainly include an additional hotel in Auckland on the site of the company’s headquarters in Federal Street. SKYCITY has purchased the nearby AA Building and plans to move its head office staff there next year.

It was also announced that the company had extended its lease on the Wharf Casino in Queenstown for a further two years, which gave it some time to decide the best approach to expanding SKYCITY’s footprint in the region.

“We believe we can build a really good business case around an International Business facility in Queenstown,” said Mr Stephens.

SKYCITY recently released a refreshed group strategy that outline the company’s vision: “To be the leader in gaming, entertainment and hospitality in our communities” and three key goals: improve operating performance, optimise the existing portfolio and grow and diversity the business.

At the meeting, Mr Stephens said that the business goals were of course important, but that it was the character and culture goals that distinguish SKYCITY from its competitors, both now and in the future.

“It is the way that we do things, our commitment to our community, and our strong focus on customers and looking after our people that sets SKYCITY apart. And its these features, the ‘how we do things’ that will ensure our long-term shareholder value as much as our vision and business goals.‘’

Videos shared at the Annual Meeting provided shareholders with updates on four key properties and projects across the Group: SKYCITY Auckland, SKYCITY Hamilton, Adelaide Casino, and the New Zealand International Convention Centre. 

Chief Operating Officer Michael Ahearne shared a video update on SKYCITY Auckland’s record financial results, bolstered by strong performances in gaming and hotels, and growth in restaurants revenue and visitation and the Sky Tower.

Mr Ahearne said he’s very excited about the broader entertainment offering that’s developing at the Auckland precinct.

“During the year we signed a deal with All Blacks and will be creating an interactive all blacks experience. We also signed a deal with Let’s Play Live, NZ’s premier eSports business, and opened a state of the art broadcast studio in the Sky Tower which broadcasts eSports events and tournaments globally from SKYCITY.”

General Manager SKYCITY Hamilton, Michelle Baillie, reflected by video that SKYCITY Hamilton had continued its four-year streak of consecutive growth with another great year.

“As well as growth in gaming, we have also seen growth in our entertainment offering, particularly due to Bowl and Social which has continued to exceed expectations in visitation and financial performance.

“Key developments in the past year include adding ticket-in-ticket-out technology to our gaming machines and completing a refurbishment of our gaming floor including new carpet, new signage and new staff uniforms, which all look great.”

General Manager SKYCITY Adelaide, Luke Walker, shared in a video update that he’s really pleased with the performance of his site over the past financial year with growth in table games and gaming machine business, and a 7.2% growth in gaming machine market share in the second half of the financial year – the highest growth since FY13.

“A driving force behind the turnaround in the business was the formation of a new senior leadership team. We’ve got world class people on our team now, so a really pleasing year.”

“The fact that we’ve got the expansion underway is really exciting. Hansen Yuncken commenced on site in June and soon after that two 123m tower cranes were erected and are working feverishly. The project is on track and we have two years to go to opening in late 2020.

“The expansion itself will be an all-suite luxury hotel, filling a much needed niche for luxurious accommodation within Adelaide. It will easily be Adelaide’s best accommodation.”

Mr Stephens said that the proposed sale of SKYCITY Darwin was still a work in progress, but there would be news soon on the outcome of that process.

SKYCITY released new drone footage of the New Zealand International Convention Centre and provided an update on progress on the new facility. Mr Stephens advised shareholders that it was likely there would be an additional delay to the completion of the project, but SKYCITY was focusing on delivering an outstanding building and asset for New Zealanders and international visitors alike.



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