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Sky City Expects Rugby Fans, Asian Gamblers to Boost Revenue

Aug. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Sky City Entertainment Group Ltd., New Zealand’s largest casino company, expects increased revenue and earnings from its Auckland site buoyed by Asian visitors and Rugby World Cup fans.

“With Rugby World Cup upon us in less than a month and our Auckland flagship property in great shape, we are excited and optimistic about the future,” Chief Executive Officer Nigel Morrison said in a statement. The Auckland-based company today reporter net income rose 21 percent to NZ$123 million ($103 million) in the year ended June 30. Analysts had forecast annual profit of NZ$127.8 million.

New Zealand officials expect 95,000 overseas fans will attend the rugby games in September and October, when Auckland will host two semi-finals and the final as well as 12 other games. Sky City has invested NZ$50 million at its Auckland site, adding new bars, restaurants and gaming rooms for tourists and high net worth visitors.

“Sky City has a major focus on attracting international tourism, in particular visitors from China and Asia, and the eastern seaboard of Australia,” said Morrison.

The company opened new suites for so-called high-rollers in mid-July, boosting gaming turnover compared with the year earlier period, it said. Overall gaming machine revenue at its Auckland casino in the period July 1 to Aug. 15 is 15 percent higher than the year-earlier period, it said.

The Rugby World Cup will boost operating earnings at the company’s Auckland hotel by NZ$8 million, it said.

Sky City also took a NZ$15 million write-down in the value of the company’s 50-percent owned Christchurch casino, where trading was affected by a severe earthquake.

For news and related information: Reports on Sky City {SKC NZ <Equity> CN <GO>} Most read New Zealand stories {MNI NZ BN <GO>}

To contact the reporter on this story: Tracy Withers in Wellington at twithers@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Iain Wilson iwilson2@bloomberg.net

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