SkyCity lays off 200 people, sees smaller business after lockdown

SkyCity Entertainment Group issued a public statement on Friday morning announcing it was laying off 200 of its New Zealand employees immediately, and making clear that it foresaw serious long-term consequences from the current Covid-19 crisis, including a future as “a smaller, domestically focused business.”

SkyCity announced a raft of measures to reduce costs, including sharp reductions in senior executive pay, the suspension of all capital development projects save the NZICC and Horizon Hotel project, and the layoff of Chief Property Officer Peter Alexander, whose position was made redundant by a management restructure.

Nevertheless, the firm also concluded that 200 immediate New Zealand staff layoffs were also necessary. Decisions about Australian staff are still pending.

Most striking, however, were sections of the statement itself, which made clear that SkyCity’s executives saw the current crisis as much more than a temporary obstacle to be overcome.

“This is a storm we could, and would, weather if we were to reopen within a few months in
a pre Covid-19 world. Unfortunately, the impact of Covid-19 is not limited to the short term consequences of closure. Even when we fully open, we reasonably expect that weaker
economies, lower personal disposable income and changed entertainment habits, as well
as longer term travel restrictions, will result in us recommencing as a smaller, domestically
focused business. Our International Business activities might recover reasonably quickly
once travel restrictions are lifted, but the parts of our business driven by corporate travel
and by tourism, such as our hotels and the Sky Tower, will take longer to recover,” they said.

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