Skyline beating the recession

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Skyline’s new chairman brings cheering news.

Ken Matthews (left), long-time managing director of the Queenstown-based tourism, casinos and property conglomerate, succeeds veteran Barry Thomas, who stood down at September’s AGM after 33 years.

In his first shareholders’ review, Matthews speaks of “favourable trading” and “improved net earnings” in the six months to September – despite the global recession and against the run of play in New Zealand business.

Singled out for the healthy half-year result are Singapore’s Sentosa Luge, a strong winter in Queenstown, and reductions in operating costs and interest throughout the group.

Gondola and luge operations in Queenstown and Rotorua reported bottom-line gains. Skyline’s accommo­dation properties here and in Dunedin remained stable, as did its co-owned Christchurch and Dunedin casinos.

Matthews is even “cautiously predicting an improvement in our year-end results” to next March 31 – but warns “it is the [coming] summer period that really counts since sustaining visitation levels is critical to overall earnings”.

He’s thankful the Government’s boosting overseas promotional expenditure. Matthews says Thomas remains a Skyline director and his long service will be acknowledged at the next AGM.

Disclosure: The writer is one of 800 small Skyline shareholders