Finance

Lucky punters “killing” Packer’s Crown casinos; Virgin moves to acquire 100% of Tiger; Shares up on open: Midday roundup

Broede Carmody /

A string of lucky wins from VIP gamblers along with “weak consumer sentiment” has resulted in Jame’s Packer’s Melbourne and Perth casinos performing worse than expected, shareholders have been told.

Packer addressed the company’s annual general meeting yesterday and said “the punters are killing us”, according to Fairfax.

“Our VIP businesses are almost $100 million below the theoretical results less than four months into the financial year due to an adverse win rate or put simply, bad luck,” he said.

Packer also defended Crown’s bid to enter the Las Vegas market, telling a shareholder he was offended by the assertion that he had personally pushed through the decision.

“I have made a lot of mistakes in my life but one thing I try not to do is make the same mistake twice,” he said. “We’ve got an absolute world-class management team in Las Vegas this time.”

Crown’s net profit after tax for the 2013-2014 financial year was $640 million, up 35.2% from the previous year.

Virgin moves to acquire 100% of Tiger

Virgin Australia has announced it will acquire the remaining 40% of Tigerair Australia for $1, a move that when completed will see Virgin secure100% ownership of the budget carrier.

This means Virgin will take on the budget airline’s losses, which rose in the first quarter of this year in comparison to the previous corresponding period.

The deal is subject to approval by the Foreign Investment Review Board, with the company expecting the takeover to be completed by the end of the year.

Virgin chief executive officer John Borghetti said in a statement the proposed transaction formed part of the company’s long-term strategy.

“Given the ongoing subdued consumer demand in the Australian domestic market, the growth of the Tigerair Australian domestic fleet is likely to be reduced,” he said.

“We remain committed to maintain the airline’s low cost business model and the separate Tigerair brand, ensuring that we can continue to deliver the most competitive pricing in Australian budget travel.”

Last year, Virgin made a full-year loss of $355.6 million.

Shares up on open

Aussie shares are up this morning despite a poor performance from Wall Street overnight.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was up 36.6 points to 5291.2 at 11:40am AEDT. On Thursday, the Dow Jones closed down 24.5 points, falling 0.15% to 16,117.24.

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Broede Carmody

Broede Carmody is a former senior SmartCompany reporter. Before this, he was a co-editor of RMIT University's student magazine Catalyst.

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