Skyline rides tourism boom


The recent tourism boom has lifted profits at Queenstown’s Skyline Enterprises.

The local conglomerate announced a profit before tax of $63.3 million for the year ending March 31 – well ahead of last year’s $52.8m which included a $10.9m insurance payout for the Christchurch Casino.

Even the ‘normalised’ result – Skyline’s preferred way of communicating to its shareholders – was $10m up on last year at $36.8m.

It’s been a long time between drinks for most tourism businesses. Since 2008, the industry’s had to deal with the gloom from the global financial crisis and Christchurch’s earthquakes.

Skyline chairman Mark Quickfall says from Spain: “It is extremely pleasing to see the lift in visitor numbers, not only from our traditional markets but also from China and Asia.”

Quickfall confirms the rising tourism tide lifted its businesses – its tourism and accommodation businesses beat expectations.

Queenstown gondola trips rose to 683,000 from 600,000 last year, while Skyline Rotorua’s gondola trips grew from last year’s 429,000 to 494,000.

Some of the profit hike came from a $16.7m increase in the value of its commercial properties.

The casino business was in line with expectations.

Following the release of Skyline’s unaudited accounts, the company’s directors recommend a dividend of 42 cents per share, up from last year’s 37c.

Skyline’s shares, traded on the Unlisted exchange, have recently traded over $13 – compared to a 12-month low of $10.80.

Quickfall is in Spain riding the Camino de Santiago – a trip walked or cycled by more than 200,000 people each year.

He says: “Travelling is a great reminder that tourism is a competitive business and we must remain on top of our game if we wish to attract people to our destinations and in turn our attractions.”

Since the end of March, Skyline’s positive trading trend continues, he reports.

But Quickfall sounds a slight note of caution – especially given his relative proximity to the Greece debt crisis.

“While current and forecast trading is positive we need to be mindful that world events can unexpectedly change the situation.”

Work’s started on Skyline’s new $6 million, three-level building in Marine Parade. 

One shadow over Skyline’s announcement is a reminder of its High Court battle with Heli Holdings, over
helicopter leases and maintenance.

Skyline’s AGM is scheduled for September 19.