New Zealand

The New Zealand stock exchange operator, NZX, says it is looking into a spike in trading of SkyCity shares after the country’s first leader made claims the trading volume was unusual.
FMA compliance director Elaine Campbell told Radio New Zealand that the NZX is looking into the allegations made by First leader Winston Peters that the 3.4 million SkyCity shares traded on Friday 13th - 2 million more than what was traded before and after that day- was unusual as it coincided with an agreement made between between the government and SkyCity that was not made public.

SkyCity may end up building a smaller convention center in downtown Auckland after public funding for the project was ruled out by the government.
SkyCity has now agreed to withdraw its bid for public funds after a cost blow out pushed the cost of the convention center from AUS$402 million ($300 million) to as high as $395 million.
The company had previously agreed to build the 3,500 seat convention center for free in return for a 28 year extension to its casino license, more tables and pokie machines and other concessions.

SkyCity Entertainment Group is optimistic about its prospects, but analyst reactions to its latest results have been lacklustre, while a major project designed to boost growth at home is facing difficulties.

 

The company, which operates four casinos in New Zealand and two in Australia, is facing stagnant growth in its home market, while competition is set to mount in Australia.

 

SkyCity Entertainment Group is optimistic about its prospects, but analyst reactions to its latest results have been lacklustre, while a major project designed to boost growth at home is facing difficulties.

The company, which operates four casinos in New Zealand and two in Australia, is facing stagnant growth in its home market, while competition is set to mount in Australia.

Overall in the 2013/2014 financial year New Zealanders spent $1.54 billion on the four main forms of gambling, an increase of less than one percent, while casino spending fell 2.1 percent.



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SkyCity Entertainment Group, which operates six casinos in Australia and New Zealand, has reported a small decline in net profit after tax in its results for the six months to the end of December 2014.
 The earnings are in line with analysts’ predictions of a strong New Zealand result and of difficult conditions in Australia, where the company’s operations in Adelaide and Darwin have been affected by disruption due to rebuilding and a “challenging” trading environment respectively.

New Zealand’s prime minister says Auckland’s SkyCity convention center will be an “eyesore” unless the government pumps more cash into the project.
Local media reported that Prime Minister John Key said the government is looking to help the casino operator, which has struggled to meet the cost of the project, realize its grand plans.

SkyCity Entertainment Group’s half year results to be released on Wednesday will show a better performance in the New Zealand market, but that its Australian operations will drag the company down, analysts say.
Wednesday’s result will be a mix of good and bad news with evidence that Auckland is returning to sustainable growth, Adrian Allbon of Craig’s Investment Partners and Mark Wilson of Deutsche Bank, said in a preview.

Gamblers in New Zealand spent more than $1.54 billion on the four main forms of gambling in the 2013/2014 financial year, a year-on-year increase of less than one percent, according to official statistics.
Punters spent $19 million more on racing, sports and lotteries and less on casinos and gaming machines in bars.
 Betting on racing and sports rose 5.6 percent to $230 million; on lotteries by 7.2 percent to $342 million. Spending on gaming machines dropped by 2.2 percent to $597 million, and in casinos by 2.1 percent to $376 million .

The rating on SkyCity Entertainment Group’s shares has been downgraded from hold to sell by analysts from Deutsche Bank and Craigs Investment Partners, reflecting doubt over whether the shares can offer a return.
The analysts cite the $1 billion required for the company’s Adelaide business and planned NZ International Convention Centre in Auckland as a risk.

SkyCity Entertainment is reportedly still waiting for a decision from the Auckland council as to whether a planned national convention center, which it is building as part of an accord to expand its casino there, will face a public planning hearing.
The company lodged its consent application just before Christmas, in the hope that would allow time to sign contracts to begin construction near the end of this year, local media reports.
It has since been waiting for Auckland Council to decide if the project should go to a full public hearing.

As the World Cup approaches in New Zealand, the Cricket Players Association (CPA) and Racing Board have warned that the country’s cricket stars are at risk from sophisticated “honey traps” laid by match-fixing syndicates.
CPA chief executive Heath Mills told the Herald on Sunday that he believed that match-fixers would try to influence the outcome, using glamorous women to lure stars and then blackmail them.

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