Skyline announces pre-tax profit

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Queenstown’s Skyline Enter­prises has announced a pre-tax profit increase and dividend hike to accompany its sky-high share price.

The publicly-listed tourism, property and casino conglomerate lifted pre-tax profit by 20 per cent to $34.7 million for its March 31 year.

Chairman Ken Matthews says directors recommend a dividend of 37 cents per share – up nine per cent.

Skyline shares are now trading on the Unlisted share platform at an all-time high of $9 – up 43 per cent on this time last year.

Matthews says business was “strong” at Queenstown and Rotorua gondola operations during the year.

Queenstown gondola numbers hit a new record, with dining and luge patrons in particular boosting revenue by 15 per cent.

Luges at Singapore’s Sentosa and Canada’s Mont Tremblant remained consistent, Matthews reports, despite Sentosa being “under pressure” from other attractions.

The new Calgary, Canada luge is finally open after “frustrating delays” and Matthews remains confident of its ultimate success.

South Korea’s new luge has been a headache, however, with planning permission “proving quite arduous” – the opening will now be mid-2014 at the earliest.

Skyline’s big Queenstown CBD property portfolio also gets a mention from Matthews for “very low vacancy levels” and “some [rent] growth”.

Queenstown’s Blue Peaks Lodge had a tougher year than 2012 while Dunedin’s Mercure Leisure Lodge had declining occupancy.

The sightseeing and aviation brands of new acquisition Totally Tourism delivered on first-year forecasts, Matthews says, yet despite a management change in March this business still faces “operational challenges” and tough competition.

Skyline’s chairman has rather more positive news on Christ­church Casino, following his group’s $80m buy-out of SkyCity’s 50 per cent stake last December.

Patronage is still below pre-quake levels, Matthews says, yet “the trend is certainly improving” with diners increasing. Construction begins in October on a ground-floor functions facility.

Skyline’s unaudited results mean a net profit of $16.6m – compared with $20.3m previously. The $16.6m comes after tax of $7.5m, a property revaluation and a big write-off of amortisation and goodwill.

The $11.3m write-off is mainly from Skyline gaining 100 per cent of Christchurch Casino, Matthews says.

frank@scene.co.nz

Disclosure: The writer is one of 820 small shareholders in Skyline.