SkyCity Entertainment raises $230m in new equity to boost pandemic recovery

By Iqbal Johal

SkyCity Entertainment group has raised NS$230m (US$147.6m) in new equity in an effort to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

The New Zealand casino operator generated NZ$180m through institutional placement, with 72 million new, fully paid ordinary shares fully subscribed at NZ$2.50 per share.

The placement matches the proportion of shares owned by institutional investors, with the size of the placement representing 78% of the total equity raising.

SkyCity said the placement was strongly supported by existing institutional shareholders and has already attracted significant bids from other institutional investors.

Settlement of the placement is due to take place 23 June for the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), and 24 June for the New Zealand’s Exchange (NZX), with the commencement of trading expected to occur on 24 June.

The remaining new equity will come from a fully underwritten NZ$50m share purchase plan, which will be available to all eligible shareholders, to take the total amount to NZ$230m.

On June 9, the operator announced the operations in most of its New Zealand casinos will return to normal, after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, lifted the majority of the country’s coronavirus restrictions, on 8 June.

This means social distancing and capacity restrictions no longer apply, after they were introduced as SkyCity reopened in Auckland, Hamilton and Queenstown 14 May.

However, before that announcement, the operator warned layoffs would be necessary to help recover from the loss of revenue after the pandemic forced casinos to close on 23 March.

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