Feb 23, 2023 13:54
Star Entertainment Group Ltd. announced that it would raise A$800 million ($545 million) to repay debt and suspend dividend payments, as it reported a record statutory loss for the first half of the year due to challenging business conditions in Sydney.
Star, Australia's second-largest casino operator, has seen its profits eroded by regulatory restrictions on its Sydney operations beginning in mid-September and intense competition from larger competitor Crown Resort, which began operations in Sydney in August.
The capital raising, which consists of a A$685 million 3-for-5 rights offer and a A$115 million institutional placement, will enable Star to repay debt and increase liquidity, the company announced Thursday. End of 2022, it had a net debt of A$1.11 billion.
Capital-raising shares are being sold at $1.20 each, which is 21% below Star's most recent closing price of $1.50.
Star stated that major shareholders Chow Tai Fook Enterprises and Far East Consortium have exercised their rights and committed $80 million to the capital raise.
Star reported a record statutory net loss after tax of A$1.26 billion for the six months ended December 31, compared to a loss of A$74,2 million a year earlier.
Star had previously warned of an impairment charge of up to A$1.6 billion in the first half as a result of a proposal by the New South Wales government to increase taxes on casino poker machine operators. Sydney is the state's capital.
Tax resolution with the New South Wales government remains the most important catalyst for investors, according to Jefferies analysts.
In the first half, the casino operator wrote down the goodwill of its Sydney casino from A$851 million to zero.
In an effort to reduce its debt, the company announced it would suspend dividend payments, and its casino licences were in full operation.
The company posted a normalised nett profit after taxes of $43,6 million, compared to A$73,7 million in losses in the prior year.
Thursday is a trading suspension for Star shares while the capital raise is in progress.
Feb 23, 2023 11:58
Feb 24, 2023 11:21