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Sky City to Bid on Taverner

6 Oct 2005

NEW ZEALAND – As reported by the Bloomberg News: "Sky City Entertainment Group, New Zealand's largest casino company, said Thursday that it would bid for Taverner Hotel Group, valued at about 300 million Australian dollars, as curbs on smoking and slot machines limit earnings at home.

"'The important consideration for us is that in excess of 60 percent of the revenue of the business is gaming,' Sky City's chairman, Rod McGeoch, said in an interview in Christchurch.

"The Melbourne-based Taverner, which owns 33 hotels and has betting shops and nightclubs, is a good fit with Sky City's existing businesses, he said.

"In August, Sky City reported that second-half earnings growth had stalled because of rules in New Zealand that include a smoking ban in casinos and restrictions on currency notes used in slot machines.

"…Taverner is valued at a minimum of 300 million Australian dollars (US$228 million) people familiar with the sale plan said. At that price, Sky City may seek to fund two-thirds of the bid with new equity, said Lindsay at Tyndall…"

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