Reaching

S kyCity CEO Graeme Stephens once said, “When you qualify

He chose the casino business and New Zealand specifically.

Reaching A quartercentury before he took the lead of SkyCity, Stephens familiarized himself with Kiwi country by backpacking it.

Reaching The Zimbabwe-born Stephens learned the casino business from Sun International and came to SkyCity in May 2017,

and set about maximizing existing core assets To that end he sold remote SkyCity Darwin casino as well as a car park.

The casino went to American operator, Delaware North, and Stephens turned his attention to investing $493 million into the International Convention Centre in Auckland and $211 million into SkyCity Adelaide.

An enthusiastic traveler of the world’s wild places, Stephens is happiest when tracking wildlife and shooting them—with his camera.

Casino Life caught up with him in the wake of the SkyCity Darwin sale, so naturally that provided the jumping-off point for our conversation.

Reaching What motivated the sale of SkyCity Darwin?

The board and management of SkyCity is pursuing a policy of disposal of non-core assets, where a fair price can be obtained,

A larger part of the current and future investment is into non-gaming such as hotels, food and beverage,

 What manner of non-core assets will be sold in the future and what is the strategy behind this?

to allow investment into areas we see as having better potential of higher returns for shareholders.

SkyCity Darwin was a long way from our other properties in New Zealand and in Adelaide and its

performance, while generally acceptable, was not considered to be an adequate return on the capital we had invested.

So we asked for expressions of interest from potential buyers and we were delighted that Delaware North,

a quality North American casino, and food-andbeverage operator, was the successful bidder.

A larger part of the current and future investment is into non-gaming such as hotels, food and beverage,

 What manner of non-core assets will be sold in the future and what is the strategy behind this?

I would characterize our current strategy as focusing the proceeds on the remaining core land based properties—Adelaide, Auckland, Hamilton and Queenstown.

These remaining properties are not fully developed as regards their true potential as well as the changing entertainment tastes of our customers.

A larger part of the current and future investment is into non-gaming such as hotels, food and beverage,

 What manner of non-core assets will be sold in the future and what is the strategy behind this?

We’ve recently announced the sale of the concession to operate some 3,500 car parks owned by

SkyCity to Macquarie Principal Finance, part of the Australian-based Macquarie Group.

Note we only sold the concession, not the land or buildings.

We’ve sold these under the same strategy as the Darwin sale – divestment of noncore assets and using the capital from the sales to pay down debt.

It’s also available for other, higher-returning investments closer to our core business we may seek to make in the future, should the opportunity arise.

Last year, we sold another car park we owned on Federal Street for the same reason. We don’t have any plans right now for the sale of any other assets.

A larger part of the current and future investment is into non-gaming such as hotels, food and beverage,

 What manner of non-core assets will be sold in the future and what is the strategy behind this?

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