The money losses continue to be registered at the owner of Casino Canberra, Hong Kong-based Aquis Entertainment Limited. Most recently, the company has reported an AU$2,553,772 loss for the first half of the current fiscal year to June 30th. Aquis further revealed that it is in talks with the ACT Government to discuss some development possibilities for its struggling business.
As Aquis Entertainment also explained, the latest six-month loss was up 18.4% on the same period a year earlier, when it registered an AU$1,156,212 loss. Its revenue fell by 2.7% from AU$12,317,421 reaching AU$11,985,194. The casino owner further revealed that a decline of 176.2% was also registered in its EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) to AU$557,242. A 34.7% drop was registered in the company’s earnings before interest and tax, while a slight increase was registered in Aquis’ operating costs.
According to the information included in the directors’ report, the group remained focused on its medium-term strategy of combining leadership and targeted investment in its business in order to compensate for the poor performance of its operations. The directors’ report further revealed that Aquis Entertainment was still interested in capitalising on its Casino Canberra refurbishment in 2016.
Aquis Entertainment Previously Turned ACT Government’s Offer for 200 Poker Machines
Late in 2018, Blue Whale Entertainment Pty Ltd became the major shareholder in Aquis Entertainment after acquiring the casino in a deal worth AU$32 million. Blue Whale Entertainment is associated with the owner of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, the investment manager of the SB&G Hotel Group (Australia) and the AU$50-million development of Holiday Inn Express which was proposed for the same site.
The sale followed the ACT Government’s rejection of Aquis’ AU$330-million unsolicited bid to redevelop the casino precinct. This happened after long-time negotiations failed over the conditions imposed on the project, including the number of poker machines Casino Canberra would be permitted to operate.
Aquis Entertainment turned down the ACT Government’s offer to operate 200 poker machines, as the owners of the gambling hub wanted Casino Canberra to host 500 pokies.
At the time when it acquired the casino and became the major shareholder in Aquis, Blue Whale Entertainment shared that it was excited about the potential future collaborations that could be generated for Casino Canberra through its partnership with Aquis. It also revealed some plans for future upgrades of the facility, including the addition of new dining areas as part of the company’s vision to once again make the casino into a leading entertainment hub in the country’s capital and attract more visitors.
According to the directors’ report, a strong budget has been set for the year, with the company expecting to generate positive EBITDA and cash flows for the full fiscal year. As confirmed in the report, the first-half results which were achieved by the company were a bit lower than the ones set in the initial targets. Still, management remains focused on the Group’s strategy and keeps its expectations that it would manage to achieve the full-year target.