Crown Resorts (ASX:CWN) - Interim Executive Chairman, Helen Coonan - The Market Herald
Interim Executive Chairman, Helen Coonan
Source: Louie Douvis
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  • With a $121 million loss adding to recent investigations, Crown Resorts' (CWN) half-year results have moved the casino giant into deep water
  • Overall revenue fell more than 62 per cent, with the company's Perth operations providing the only sense of reasonable stability
  • Revenue at Crown's Melbourne operation fell more than 90 per cent while its $2.2 billion Sydney project remains unable to open
  • Despite the poor performance, the company's newly appointed Chairman Helen Coonan has had a further $1.8 million added to her yearly pay, taking her annual total to $2.5 million
  • Crown Resorts is up 1.03 per cent to $9.79 per share

With a $121 million loss adding to recent investigations, Crown Resorts' (CWN) half-year results have moved the casino giant into deep water.

Overall revenue for the six months ending December 31 fell more than 62 per cent, with a 5.3 per cent drop in revenue at Crown's Perth operation — which will be the focus of a new inquiry — providing the only sense of reasonable stability.

Revenue at its Melbourne operation — which remained closed for the majority of the period due to COVID-related restrictions — fell more than 90 per cent to just $97.1 million, while Crown Aspinalls in London posted a $23 million loss compared to a $5.6 million profit last year.

"Crown's first-half results reflect the severe impact on operations from the COVID-19 pandemic," said Chief Financial Officer Alan McGregor.

That said, McGregor noted that good progress had been made in apartment sales at Crown Sydney, "with over $870 million in gross sales and pre-sale commitments achieved to date."

"We expect settlement of the apartment sales to occur progressively from March through the balance of the calendar year, which will help to substantially de-lever Crown's balance sheet."

In Sydney, Crown has so far invested roughly $2 billion into the overall $2.2 billion entertainment project that remains unable to open after the company was officially deemed unsuitable to hold its licence.

Despite the poor performance and the mounting scrutiny, the company's newly appointed interim Executive Chairman, Helen Coonan, has enjoyed a $1.8 million addition to her annual pay, bringing her total yearly remuneration to $2.5 million.

"As interim Executive Chairman, I am determined to provide the leadership required to drive change," she said.

"My job is to lead Crown to become a stronger company, a more transparent company and a more respected company. A better company."

However, she added that she doesn't not see herself as Chairman for "an extended tenure," and that a global search has now been launched for a new CEO after the resignation of Ken Barton earlier this week.

Billionaire businessman James Packer — who owns approximately 37 per cent of Crown Resorts through his investment company Consolidated Press Holdings — has been relatively quiet since the scathing report by Commissioner Patricia Bergin was released.

Among a host of recommendations, Bergin suggested making anyone with a stake in Crown totalling more than 10 per cent subject to the same high standards of character and propriety as the licensee itself.

Meeting those standards could be difficult for Packer after he made a "disgraceful and shameful threat" to a businessman advising on a potential privatisation of Crown Resorts. But offloading a portion of his stake is unlikely to be difficult.

Kelly Amato, Director of South-East Asia Industrials at Fitch Ratings, said Crown's assets might present an attractive opportunity to other gaming operators around the world due to their strong domestic presence.

"With a limited number of licences and the governments across Australia indicating that they don't want to issue any more licences, this is one of the few ways that those overseas operators will be able to get into Australia," she added.

Crown Resorts is up 1.03 per cent to $9.79 per share at 2:17 pm AEDT.

CWN by the numbers
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