Archive | SkyCity

SkyCity sells Darwin casino

SkyCity Entertainment Group Ltd has agreed to sell its Darwin business to Delaware North Companies Inc for $A188 million ($NZ202 million), $A8 million above its book value.

The sale followed a competitive tender process. Key terms:

  • Sale price of $A188 million for 100% of the shares in SkyCity Darwin Pty Ltd on a cash-free & debt-free basis, and
  • Little Mindil property (book value $A11 million), adjacent to SkyCity Darwin, to be retained by SkyCity & sold separately.

SkyCity chief executive Graeme Stephens said the company had also retained the ongoing right to access the VIP/premium gaming facilities for its international business customers for at least 2 years after completion of the sale process.

SkyCity & Delaware North plan to enter into a joint venture to establish an online casino business from the Northern Territory, if Australian legislation permits online gaming activities within the next decade.

Mr Stephens added: “The sale is consistent with our ‘capital lighter’ strategy to sell non-core assets and to allocate capital to assets & businesses which we feel are aligned with our long-term strategic objectives.

“It also allows us to concentrate our Australian activities in Adelaide, which is undergoing an $A330 million expansion, due for completion in late 2020.’’

SkyCity bought the Darwin casino in 2004 from MGM Grand, and added a hotel & pool, bars, restaurants & VIP facilities. The value of the business was impaired by $A95 million in 2017 due to changes in gaming regulations, but the property grew earnings on a like-for-like basis in the latest financial year.

SkyCity will continue to own & manage the casino while Delaware North obtains the required approvals from the Northern Territory Government.

SkyCity hasn’t determined what it will do with the sale proceeds following completion, but is pursuing a number of strategic initiatives it expects would generate returns above its cost of capital.

Delaware North is one of the largest privately held hospitality companies in the world. It has operations at sports & entertainment venues, national & state parks, destination resorts, restaurants & airports.

It entered into a partnership with Auckland International Airport Ltd this year to deliver 9 new food & beverage concepts.

Delaware North

Attribution: Company release.

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Sale of AA Centre to SkyCity confirmed

Asset Plus Ltd (the former NPT Ltd) has confirmed that SkyCity Entertainment Group Ltd settled its purchase of the AA Centre, on the corner of Victoria & Albert Sts in central Auckland, last Thursday.

Asset Plus chair Bruce Cotterill said the company had applied substantially all of the net proceeds from the $47 million sale price towards debt repayment.

He said SkyCity had retained an amount until recladding works to the stairwell are completed.

The 18-storey tower, running from 99 Albert St through to Federal St, has office space above ground-floor retail & basement parking, and net lettable area of 12,205m². It’s unit-titled, and Asset Plus owned most of it. Asset Plus had the building on its books at $40.85 million.

SkyCity said when the acquisition was announced last October the deal was consistent with its intention to consolidate control over its Auckland precinct as part of the Auckland masterplanning it’s undertaken.

Earlier story:
15 October 2017: SkyCity buys AA Centre to consolidate precinct control

Attribution: Asset Plus release.

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Melbourne developer buys Federal St carpark

SkyCity Entertainment Group Ltd has signed an unconditional agreement to sell the Federal St carpark in downtown Auckland to ICD Property Investment Ltd (Michael Mai, Melbourne) for $40 million.

The 427-space carpark is on SkyCity’s books at $22 million.

It’s on the corner of Kingston St, half a block from SkyCity’s casino, hotel & hospitality precinct.

SkyCity said ICD was selected as preferred buyer after a tender managed by Colliers and signed a conditional agreement in late April. It will pay a 10% deposit, with settlement in 12 months.

SkyCity said in a release: “The sale of the Federal St carpark is consistent with SkyCity’s intention to move to an ‘asset-lighter’ strategy, which includes looking to divest non-core assets & businesses.

“The proceeds of the sale will be used initially to pay down debt and then fund future growth opportunities as they arise. The carpark is currently occupied by SkyCity staff that will be moved to the NZ International Convention Centre carpark when the first 600-space tranche is completed. Following this, SkyCity intends to operate the Federal St carpark for casual visitors & leaseholders through to settlement of the transaction with ICD.”

Attribution: Company release.

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BlackRock ups SkyCity stake, cuts at Sky TV

US fund manager BlackRock Inc, which bought a 5% stake in NZX-listed retail & office property investor Kiwi Property Group Ltd last week, has also lifted its holding in SkyCity Entertainment Group Ltd but cut its stake in Sky Network Television Ltd.

BlackRock disclosed yesterday that it had lifted its SkyCity stake from just over 5% to 6.129% last Friday, but reduced its Sky TV stake from 13.3% to 8.2% after offloading 20 million shares.

BlackRock manages about $US6.3 trillion of assets.

Attribution: Company releases.

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SkyCity agrees US placement & later NZ bond issue

SkyCity Entertainment Group Ltd reached agreement yesterday on a new $US150 million issue of US private placement notes.

Investor relations & corporate development manager Ben Kay said the issue represented the penultimate component of SkyCity’s debt funding plan for its capital investment programme in New Zealand & Australia.

The Auckland-based casino & hotel owner said it intended the final component of the programme to be a second New Zealand bond issue, planned for 2018.

The US issue will comprise 2 tranches:

  • a $US100 million tranche maturing in March 2025, and
  • an $A65.4 million (equivalent to $US50 million) tranche maturing in March 2028.

Mr Kay said the $US tranche had been swapped back to New Zealand dollars to remove all currency exposure to the $US.

He said the issue had been priced at attractive margins relative to recent comparable issues and extended SkyCity’s average debt maturity out to 4.6 years.

The transaction remains subject to execution of final documentation. Upon execution, the notes will be issued in March to coincide with the maturity of $US75 million of existing US private placement debt. The balance of the proceeds will initially be used to repay bank debt.

Attribution: Company release.

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SkyCity buys AA Centre to consolidate precinct control

SkyCity Entertainment Group Ltd has bought NPT Ltd’s interest in the AA Centre at 99 Albert St in central Auckland for $47 million.

SkyCity said the acquisition was consistent with its intention to consolidate control over its Auckland precinct as part of the Auckland masterplanning it’s undertaken: “The masterplan, once completed, will incorporate opportunities for further hotels, apartments, food & beverage outlets, entertainment facilities & office spaces, with the aim of having a cohesive & integrated mixed-use entertainment precinct, and will ensure that SkyCity leverages the benefits of the increased pedestrian traffic flows anticipated following completion of the city rail link.”

Image above: The AA Centre is across the Victoria St West intersection from an entrance for the city rail link Aotea Station, one full block up from Queen St and one block from the SkyCity casino & tower (at right).

The rear entrance to the SkyCity Grand Hotel & original convention centre is from Albert St, a few doors along from the AA Centre.

The 2 NZX-listed companies entered a conditional agreement on 31 August and it went unconditional last Thursday, 12 October. Settlement is scheduled for 12 July 2018.

Under the agreement, NPT must complete $2 million of capital improvements, which it began before the agreement was signed.

Bruce Cotterill.

NPT chair Bruce Cotterill said that, after allowing for those capital improvements, the transaction would increase NPT shareholder equity by $2 million over the $40.85 million valuation at 31 March.

The yield was about 7% on rent which wasn’t stated in NPT’s annual report or in this announcement. Occupancy of NPT’s share of the building at 31 March was 91.6%.

NPT owns 15 levels (12,000m²) of the 17 office floors, ground-floor retail, the through-site link to Federal St & 90 parking spaces.

The NZ Automobile Association owns the other 2 office levels, some ground-floor retail and a few parking spaces.

Mr Cotterill said: “The sale of this property represents a first step on the path to repositioning NPT. We have achieved a very good price, as compared with current book value, and the 9-month settlement period allows us to maintain current profit & distribution forecasts through to 31 March 2018 while we progress the board’s broader plans for NPT.

“The board is intending to update shareholders on its proposed strategy for the future of NPT in the coming weeks. The sale proceeds will be used to invest in the purchase of assets where we can see an opportunity to add value.”

SkyCity expected the acquisition to be “marginally earnings accretive” from its 2019 financial year. The company will fund the acquisition from existing bank facilities.

Attribution: NPT & SkyCity releases, NPT annual report.

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Convention centre project delayed but “on budget”

Aside from the financial upheaval in the construction division of Fletcher Building Ltd, subsidiary company The Fletcher Construction Co Ltd told SkyCity Entertainment Group Ltd last Thursday that completion of its NZ international convention centre would be delayed.

When work on site, between Hobson & Nelson Sts, began in February 2016, the total project cost of the convention centre plus associated hotel, laneway & extra carparks was $700 million, with an opening date in 2019.

SkyCity said on Thursday an updated programme of works was still being reviewed, but it currently indicated practical completion for both the convention centre and the Hobson St hotel around the middle of 2019.

SkyCity said it remained comfortable with the contractual arrangements with Fletcher Construction and the project remained on-budget. It said the slight delay wouldn’t impact on any of the convention centre’s confirmed bookings.

Attribution: Company release.

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Propbd on Q F19Feb16 – Future transport, Higgins & adhesives clearances, port study, convention centre start

Feedback sought on future transport needs
Fletcher seeks Higgins acquisition clearance
HB Fuller seeks Advanced Adhesives acquisition clearance
Take a surfing cruise to the port of Muriwai…. 
Ministers turn first sod for convention centre

Feedback sought on future transport needs

Auckland Council, Auckland Transport & the NZ Transport Agency are seeking public input on planning transport for about 110,000 new houses on greenfields land.

Deputy mayor Penny Hulse said yesterday significant new transport infrastructure would be needed to support about 110,000 new houses & 50,000 new jobs in future urban areas matching the size of urban Hamilton.

The council & transport organisations will use feedback to help identify the transport networks needed during the next 30 years to support future urban areas in the north-west, southern Auckland, Warkworth & Silverdale.

6 weeks of public consultation began yesterday, with 2 weeks of initial feedback on proposals in each future urban area, starting in southern Auckland, followed by 4 more weeks starting in April.

“It is important we identify early what is needed so projects can be developed and in place before new housing and businesses go in.

“Getting transport well integrated with the future communities to ensure they are well connected and great places to live will be a priority. Making sure jobs are easy for people to get to is also very important.”

Auckland Transport key strategic initiatives project director Theunis van Schalkwyk said the agency was working closely with developers to deliver new transport for special housing areas as they are built, but needed feedback on what people believe future residents’ transport priorities will be.

“It is a good opportunity for people to help guide what mix of transport projects need to happen.”

Consultation will be conducted in southern Auckland from 18 February-3 March, Warkworth & Silverdale/Dairy Flat 25 February-10 March, and north-west Auckland 3-17 March.

Auckland Transport feedback 

Fletcher seeks Higgins acquisition clearance

Fletcher Building Ltd, through subsidiary Fletcher Building Holdings NZ Ltd, has applied to the Commerce Commission for clearance to acquire Higgins Group Holdings Ltd, including 50% of shares in the Horokiwi Quarries Ltd.

The application excludes Higgins’ readymix concrete business, including joint ventures in readymix concrete, which will be transferred to existing Higgins shareholders before the proposed acquisition.

Higgins is a privately owned company that provides civil construction services and is a manufacturer of construction products such as aggregates.

The Commerce Commission said its decision was due by Thursday 3 March.

Link: Commission clearances register, Fletcher application

HB Fuller seeks Advanced Adhesives acquisition clearance

HB Fuller Co Australia Pty Ltd has applied to the Commerce Commission for clearance to acquire the business & assets of Advanced Adhesives (NZ) Ltd.

HB Fuller is a member of a global group involved in the manufacture & marketing of adhesives, sealants & other speciality chemical products. In New Zealand, it mainly supplies hot melt adhesives for the industrial packaging, paper converting, woodworking, bookbinding & hygiene sectors. It also supplies a small volume of water-based adhesives to customers in the bookbinding & woodworking sectors.

Advanced Adhesives is a manufacturer & supplier of a range of hot melt & water-based adhesives used in industrial applications, including packaging, paper converting & woodworking.

Link: Commission clearances register, HB Fuller application

Take a surfing cruise to the port of Muriwai…. 

The Auckland port future study’s consensus working group released initial work identifying a long list on Wednesday of areas being considered as options to meet Auckland’s future demand for port activities.

The primary consideration seemed to be salt water – including most unlikely port contenders such as Muriwai.

Missing from the list were existing inland port sites and how those & new inland sites might form a component of new port development.

The consensus working group & wider reference group are meeting today to discuss a long list of areas & criteria. A consultant’s report to the consensus working group is due in April and that group has to make recommendations to Auckland Council at the end of June.

Link: Port future study

Ministers turn first sod for convention centre

Prime Minister John Key and Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce turned the first sod yesterday on construction of the SkyCity Entertainment Group Ltd’s NZ international convention centre between Hobson & Nelson Sts.

The total project cost of the convention centre plus associated hotel, laneway & extra carparks is $700 million. The centre is due to open in 2019.

Attribution: Commerce Commission, company & ministerial releases.

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Propbd on Q W20Jan16 – QE Square rezoning approved, Tamaki campus rezoning approved, Furniture City sold, SkyCity guidance up

Precinct’s QE Square rezoning approved
Tamaki campus rezoning approved
Smiths City to buy Furniture City
SkyCity lifts guidance

Precinct’s QE Square rezoning approved

Auckland Council has issued the decision of independent commissioners to approve rezoning of Queen Elizabeth Square (pictured) at the foot of Queen St under private plan change 79.

The panel of David Hill (chair), David Mead & Basil Morrison heard Precinct Properties Ltd’s application in November and issued their decision on 15 January.

The panel ruled out an alternative proposal by Graeme Scott for the Urban Design Forum. Mr Hill commented in the decision: “In short, we did not see the alternative option as providing any substantial benefits over the option set out in the notified plan change, except that it retained more land in public ownership. We would not describe it as a poorly performing option, rather that it was of no greater benefit in urban design terms to the notified option. In our view, it did not justify a fundamental reassessment of the plan change.”

Link: Private plan change 79 decision

Earlier stories:
14 December 2015: Precinct all set to transform Downtown
8 November 2015: Urban designer says fix the surrounds before selling square
6 November 2015: Is public-private co-operation the way to transform Downtown?

Tamaki campus rezoning approved

A panel of independent commissioners has approved Auckland University’s private plan change 375 to rezone its Tamaki campus. The decision, dated 23 December, was publicly notified today.

The panel of David Hill (chair), Gavin Lister, Sheena Tepania & Glenda Fryer heard the application in October-November.

The university has owned the land since 1944 but has decided to concentrate its activities in the network of city, Grafton & Newmarket campuses. It wants to vacate the Tamaki site by 2019.

The approved rezoning changes the campus from special purpose 2 (education) to mixed use.

11.9ha is at 261 Morrin Rd and another 6595m²at 231 Morrin Rd, which is subject to a long-term lease to Landcare Research NZ Ltd and a sublease to the Ministry of Primary Industries.

Link: Private plan change 375 decision

Smiths City to buy Furniture City

Christchurch-based Smiths City Group Ltd said yesterday it had entered into a conditional agreement to buy the business & assets of both Panmure Furniture City 1983 Ltd & its logistics operation Lucky Dragon Ltd for $5.85 million plus gst.

Auckland-based Furniture City has 2 stores in Auckland and one in Whangarei. The business also operates a comprehensive internet store & fulfilment facility.

The agreement is subject to Smiths City obtaining suitable finance and the satisfactory completion of due diligence, both by 29 February. Settlement is scheduled for 1 April.

SkyCity lifts guidance

SkyCity Entertainment Group Ltd said in interim guidance issued yesterday it expected ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation & amortisation) & net profit after tax for the half-year to 31 December to rise sharply above the returns a year earlier.

The company will issue its first-half results on Thursday 11 February. In guidance, it gave ranges for normalised returns of ebitda up 13-17%, from $154.5 million to $175-180 million, and net profit up 25-29%, from $66.5 million to $83-86 million. For reported returns, it expected ebitda to rise 21-23%, from $140.9 million to $170-173 million, and net profit to rise 26-30%, from $54.6 million to $69-71 million.

SkyCity said it expected the reported results to differ from the normalised results primarily due to adjustments for the actual win rate in the international business and the write-off of various non-current assets, including buildings being demolished as part of the construction of the NZ International Convention Centre in Auckland.

Attribution: Council decisions, company releases.

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SkyCity examines hotel partnership options as new gambling concessions click in

SkyCity Entertainment Group Ltd chair Chris Moller highlighted, when he addressed the company’s annual meeting on Friday, that the international convention centre it’s about to build won’t be a great earner in itself.

But there’s a second leg to its development, which has come into play immediately – earnings from extra gambling concessions.

SkyCity has awarded the $477 million construction contract to The Fletcher Construction Co Ltd to build both the convention centre & adjoining hotel, and is now looking at “partnership options” for the hotel. The company expects to turn the first sod on the development before Christmas and is aiming for an official opening in the second quarter of 2019.

Chief executive Nigel Morrison said the company’s total bill would hit $700 million including land, the convention centre development, Hobson St hotel development, connecting airbridges, retail/restaurant laneway development between Nelson & Hobson Sts and the additional parking spaces under the convention centre, increasing the total carpark to 1327 spaces, which, in addition to SkyCity’s existing ca park of 2000 spaces, will increase its total parking to 3327 spaces.

Mr Moller said it was timely to reflect on the benefits to SkyCity of the convention centre transaction: “Everyone knows that convention centres are not of themselves significant profit generators and the board is under no illusion about that. However, the extension of SkyCity’s Auckland licence to 30 June 2048, the tax certainty obtained and the attraction of more visitors to the SkyCity precinct will be of significant benefit to the company.

“The gaming concessions will also enhance our profitability and, whilst they are controversial in some quarters, our corporate social responsibility programme is how we retain our social licence to operate. Accordingly, and as you would expect, it stands at the heart of our strategy.”

Mr Morrison said the extra gaming concessions, including gaming tax rates being locked in, were activated when the construction contracts were signed on 11 November.

SkyCity’s main atrium, undergoing transformation.

SkyCity’s main atrium, undergoing transformation.

Mr Morrison also said the company had engaged international architects YWS to design & deliver “a world-class entry experience” in its main atrium on the corner of Victoria St West & Federal St, and would spend $24 million on the improvements.

Stage 1, well under way, is scheduled for completion next month and stage 2 by mid-2016. The changes include a new main escalator providing more direct access to the main gaming floor, a second new escalator linking levels 2 & 3, and the addition of ‘Andy’s’ gourmet burger bar to the food & beverage offerings. The main gaming floor will be extended through a partial infill of the atrium space.

Mr Morrison said SkyCity was well placed to fund the forecast $580 million convention centre & hotel development costs from future operating cashflows & existing debt facilities. Following the recent $125 million bond issue, SkyCity had over $300 million of committed undrawn bank facilities.

In addition, Mr Morrison said: “As part of its longer‐term funding plan, SkyCity continues to explore property-related funding options, including the potential sale of the Federal St carpark and securing external investors to fund & ultimately own the Hobson St hotel development.”

JLL has been appointed to secure external investors for the Hobson St hotel, with an information memorandum due out this month.

In a trading update for the first 4 months of the 2016 financial year, to 31 October, Mr Morrison said highlights included normalised group revenue up 11.1% to $373.2 million and normalised ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation & amortisation) up 20.5% to $121.8 million.

SkyCity Auckland, the company’s flagship property, continued to perform strongly, reporting growth across all business segments. Normalised revenues rose 6.2% to $209.3 million, and normalised ebitda rose 13.6% to $89.6 million.

International business turnover rose 50.7% to $4.5 billion, including significant growth in Adelaide. SkyCity’s Queenstown property was also buoyed by strong international growth.

SkyCity Hamilton lifted normalised revenue 11.3% to $18.1 million and normalised ebitda 27.9% to $7.8 million.

Mr Morrison said the company had made progress in addressing the cost structure of the Adelaide operations which, together with the growth in international business, had increased normalised ebitda by 77.2% to $A14.7 million.

SkyCity Darwin continued to experience challenging trading conditions, underpinned by soft hotel occupancy and restaurant & bar revenue. However, international business growth contributed to a satisfactory overall performance. Normalised revenue rose 3.3% to $A52 million and normalised ebitda rose 7.8% to $A16.6 million.

Attribution: Company release, meeting notes.

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