SkyCity’s CEO unexpectedly resigns

Casino operator recently started the construction of its US$527 million New Zealand convention centre.

Nigel Morrison SkyCity Entertainment’s CEO quits his position and will be leaving the company on April 29.

New Zealand.- Nigel Morrison, SkyCity Entertainment’s CEO, resigned due to the “incredible” demands of the job. SkyCity’s chief operating officer John Mortensen has been appointed as the interim boss.

The decision came unexpectedly as SkyCity just started the construction of its US$ 527 million New Zealand convention centre in Auckland and has yet to determine the schedule of a US$226 million expansion of its Adelaide casino.

SkyCity reported a 28 percent grow to its first-half net profit in February. However, to retain its BBB- credit rating, SkyCity must keep its debt to EBITDA ratio at less than three times.

Rumour has it that the company may consider divesting its under-performing Darwin casino in addition to its already planned sale of Auckland City Hotel in Hobson Street. Chris Moller, SkyCity chairman dismissed the Darwin sale talk, although he admitted capital raising could be on the cards, depending on the pace in which the Auckland and Adelaide construction projects begin.

“We’ve had a number of discussions with institutional investors and analysts around the issue and the board is very conscious of the fact that we need to make sure our capital is in good shape,” expressed Moller. “The bottom line here is that until we finalise the construction contracts on the convention centre and we have a better view of the timing of Adelaide, it is hard to come to a conclusion about precisely when we need to address those issues. All of that is in the melting pot – it has been for some time and will be in the short term.”