Monday, November 3, 2008

Sky City quarter results good by half

My reasons for praising Sky City Entertainment [SKC.NZ] management a few months back have been vindicated.

The most recent quarters results have been mildly pleasing, given the recession New Zealand has been operating under for most of 2008 and the associated drain on revenue from lower discretionary spending.

That has had an affect on New Zealand casino operations and especially the Auckland casino, currently the company's main profit driver and revenue earner.

It is difficult to be hard on the Auckland casino result because current economic conditions make like for like comparisons hard but the 2% revenue drop is reasonably acceptable to this shareholder.

Much more encouraging however are the quarters results from Australia.

Given that the Adelaide casino have recently introduced a smoking ban, its flat revenue results are very pleasing to me.

When introduced in New Zealand, revenues were crimped by more than 5% and the previous strong revenue growth up to that point stopped when the smoking bans were introduced .

I have banged on strongly about Sky City's Darwin casino and it has delivered the goods to the tune of a 7% rise in revenue for the latest quarter. A spectacular rise, but shareholders should note it could be pegged back with recent falls in commodity prices, the booming mining industry the main reason behind the historical revenue increases.

Long-term that should settle back into strong growth though and I pick the Darwin casino to be the main revenue earner within 5 years.

A good buy when it was purchased off MGM Grand, and I was one of the only positive commentators about that purchase at the time.

You have been told!

Nigel Morrison's appointment at the beginning of this financial year turned out to be a turning point for the company and his decisions so far have paid off. The next year- as it will be for most New Zealand companies-will be the true test of his management abilities. He needs to balance possible revenue slowdowns with increasing business costs and that will not be easy as gamblers put their purses away.

Once again the recent quarters results have found Sky City Cinemas results disappointing and things are likely to get worse over the next twelve months.

Sky City shares were up 10c on the news in an overall positive market.

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