Echo Entertainment Profits Surge

Sydney-based casino operator Echo Entertainment posed a 110 percent rise in net profit in the six months to December to A$97 million ($75.8 million).


Echo operates The Star in Sydney, Jupiters on the Gold Coast and The Treasury in Brisbane. Earnings grew 31.5 percent to A$261 million ($204 million) as expected.

According to managing director Matt Bekier, “The business continued to build on the solid momentum established in the second half of financial year 2014.” Most of the growth came from The Star “where the expanded facilities continue to gain traction.”

The company earned A$9 million from the sale of Jupiters Townsville but that was offset by a A $9 million spend on bidding to get the tender to build a new Brisbane casino in the Queen’s Wharf precinct.

A joint venture by James Packer’s Crown Resorts and Chinese property developer Greenland Holdings is a rival bidder. The market was initially apprehensive about the figures, claiming they did not show much scope for growth, and uncertainty after the Jan. 31 state elections in Queensland.

The results are still not finalized, but Bekier remains confident. “We have a strong proposal to advance to the new decision makers and we don’t feel concerned.”

As a result of strong figures, Echo plans to buy a third jet for its VIP clients. The Star, which went through $870 million refurbishment in 2009, will spend another $500 million in capital works and on targeted marketing. The Star, which previously had an exclusive license in Sydney, has five years before Packer’s Crown Resorts opens its A$2 billion ($.15 billion) in Sydney’s Barangaroo.