Business Financials

Crown Resorts completes Macau gaming exit

Crown Resorts completes Macau gaming exit

Australian casino operator Crown Resorts agreed on Tuesday to sell the remaining stake in its Macau venture for US$1.16 billion as the firm pursues a restructure amid a Chinese gambling crackdown.

Mogul James Packer’s company will exit its holding in Melco Resorts by offloading a final 11.2 percent holding to joint-venture partner Melco International on May 15, the Australian-listed firm announced.

“Crown Resorts will no longer hold an interest in Melco Resorts,” the company said in a statement Tuesday.

The sell-down will complete a Macau exit for Crown, which late last year also shelved plans for a Las Vegas casino to concentrate on its Australian luxury hotel and casino business.

Crown has suffered from weakening demand in Macau following a Chinese corruption crackdown.

The casino operator had 18 staff members detained in China last year accused of organising banned gambling activities overseas for wealthy Chinese.

It has embarked on a management shake-up to energise local operations amid ailing turnover from high rollers visiting Australia.

The sale late last year of 13.4 percent of Melco Resorts for $1.6 billion helped boost second-half profits after the firm reported a large fall in turnover from foreign VIPs.

The proceeds from the remaining Macau stake, which after a swap agreement amounts to $987 million, will be used to reduce debt, the gaming firm said.

Investors Tuesday warmed to the announcement with Crown Resorts up 0.18 cents, or 1.44 percent to Aus$12.68 (US$9.34) in late morning trading on the Australian Securities Exchange.

–AFP