EGP began trading on the ASX today now that it has demerged from Tabcorp Holdings (TAH).
SP Opened @ $4.35
EGP began trading on the ASX today now that it has demerged from Tabcorp Holdings (TAH).
SP Opened @ $4.35
I wonder how the opening price is determined...
http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news...-1226261189002THE managing director of Sydney's The Star casino has been replaced for issues relating to his behaviour, the casino's owner says.
The CEO of Echo Entertainment said today that Sid Vaikunta had left the company.
"Mr Vaikunta's employment has ended after his behaviour in a social work setting," Echo CEO Larry Mullin said in a statement.
Frederic Luvisutto has been appointed in Mr Vaikunta's place. Mr Luvisutto has been managing director of Jupiters Gold Coast since May 2011.
A spokeswoman for Echo Entertainment said she was unable to provide further details.
The Casino, Liquor and Gaming Control Authority is investigating Mr Vaikunta's behaviour, a spokesman for NSW Gaming Minister George Souris told AAP.
The authority later said it had demanded from The Star a full explanation of the circumstances surrounding Mr Vaikunta's departure.
"The authority will be responsible for assessing the suitability of the new managing director to be licensed as a special employee under the Casino Control Act," it said in a statement.
Wonder what happened. Must've been serious to lose your job.
A more focused article on the situation:
http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/a-dark-sid...204-1qyr7.htmlSACKED casino boss Sid Vaikunta was sent on leave six weeks before he was fired, raising questions over whether senior management knew of his alleged misbehaviour on the eve of the casino's licence being renewed.
Casino employees told The Sun-Herald Mr Vaikunta had not been seen at work since before Christmas. At the same time, government sources said it was understood Mr Vaikunta had been sent on extended leave six weeks before The Star's chief executive, Larry Mullin, announced his termination on Thursday.
The casino has refused to add to its statement that Mr Vaikunta's employment had been terminated ''after his behaviour in a social work setting''. However, it only has until 1pm tomorrow to provide a full explanation to the state government.
Can't wait until the explanation tomorrow. Wonder if this will affect the SP.
EGP announced on the ASX today that they are happy for the authorities to investigate the sacking of Vid. Following that, their SP dropped about 3% and the low point of today was $3.42. I always told myself to buy in at $3.50 but placed an order at $3.40 which never hit
http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/company-li...223-1tqmg.htmlA COMPANY contracted by the Star casino to attract high rollers from Asia has been linked to a Chinese crime gang.
The Neptune Group, a Hong Kong company, signed a three-year deal in February 2009 with the casino's then operator, Tabcorp, to introduce high rollers via gambling tours known as ''junkets''.
Neptune Group is one of the world's largest investors in junkets, whereby groups of high rollers are offered tax concessions and other incentives to visit casinos and gamble in VIP rooms. It has a particularly large presence in Macau, which is undergoing a casino boom due to a ban on the establishments in mainland China.
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Gamblers participating in junkets are required to guarantee they will wager a minimum of $25,000 during their trip to the Star.
In announcing the contract with Neptune Group, Tabcorp said the deal was ''a great opportunity to work closely with one of the world's most professional junket operators''.
But an investigation by the international news agency Reuters in 2010 uncovered evidence linking Neptune with Cheung Chi-tai, who was named in court proceedings as a leader of the Wo Hop To triad gang.
Cheung was named as a ''triad boss'' by a gang member co-operating with police during the 2009 trial of five triads accused of plotting to murder a dealer at the Sands Macau casino. He was not charged in relation to the trial.
Probably won't affect SP, as with all other bad news.
EGP shares jumped 13% today after Packer increased his stake to 10% and the results were released.
http://www.watoday.com.au/business/t...224-1ttc4.htmlHe will need to convince NSW and Queensland gambling authorities that Crown should be allowed to own more than 10 per cent of Echo but there is little doubt Packer wants full control of the Tabcorp spin-off before its massive investment in revamping casinos starts flowing through to the bottomline.
Crown and Echo have punted billions on the belief they can entice Asia's high rollers, and other wealthy tourists from the region, to their casinos.
The half-year results from both companies indicated they are already proving successful despite the fact their revamps are not yet complete (and notwithstanding the high Australian dollar).
Both companies have said that having more top-class casino resorts here will expand the market, not cannibalise it.
"If Australia's got three quality offerings for that China market, that might prove to be more attractive than if there's only two," says Crown chief Rowan Craigie.
His counterpart at Echo Larry Mullin agrees but believes that his properties in Sydney and Queensland should do better as these destinations are more favoured on the tourist map than Crown's properties in Melbourne and Perth.
He's not the only one.
A report from Citi said: "Echo has more leverage in our view as Sydney outranks Melbourne as a preferred destination, and Brisbane and the Gold Coast outrank Perth."
It looks like Packer agrees with that assessment too.
1. Revenue was $908.2m, yet net profit was only $70.2m - what the hell?
2. Why would James Packer increase his stake now if he is unsure whether they will approve him having more than 10% stake? Unless he already knows the answer?
I guess Packer's intentions have been revealed a bit. But what I don't get is why the SP shot up after news of him increasing his stake to 10%? It seems clear that he only wants control of Echo to get The Star's licence so he can build a second casino in Sydney, which will then compete against The Star, so it's clearly not in the interests of Echo.
Packers learn a few tricks from Stokes
and Stokes tactics he will play
How to win control without paying a premium is Stokes trade mark...
"cash - a call option with no expiration date, an option on every asset class, with no strike price.” Warren Buffett
Packer just appeared on 60 Minutes trying to sell Australia the idea that we need another casino in Sydney to attract Asian tourists.
I wonder if this shows his need to convince the regulators to let him buy more of EGP...
JAMES Packer is making a stunning bid to replace the chairman of The Star casino with former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett.
The move is part of a takeover attempt under which he hopes to build a second casino at Barangaroo.
Mr Packer, who owns Crown in Melbourne, will announce today he will bring on an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders in an attempt to roll Echo Entertainment chairman John Story from his board position.
Because Mr Packer also owns a substantial shareholding in Echo, he has the right to call the meeting.
Echo must announce a meeting to vote on the proposal within 21 days and hold it within two months.
Mr Story refused Mr Packer a board seat two months ago when he raised his stake in Echo to 9.9 per cent, arguing he should not get one because Crown is a competitor.
Now they are shaping for a bare-knuckled fight.
Mr Packer already has an application before the Liquor and Gaming Authority to raise his stake in the company.
He has put a proposal to the state government to change NSW's one-casino licence to allow him to build a $1 Mbillion luxury hotel at Barangaroo that would include a high-rollers' casino.
Mr Kennett said he had accepted Mr Packer's challenge to go for the Echo board because he was excited about lifting Sydney out of its rut.
"It's probably true that since the building of the Opera House so many years ago, Sydney has not created a product of difference since then,'' he said. Mr Packer said yesterday he believed that Mr Kennett could turn Star into a world-class enterprise.
"Jeff Kennett is the best premier Australia has had in the last 30 years, in my opinion,'' he said.
"He knows how to get things done. He turned Victoria around in 10 years, from a basket case to the leading state in Australia.''
In a letter to shareholders to be released today, Mr Packer writes: "Crown has nominated Jeff Kennett as a director because Jeff can help turn Echo into a world class gaming and entertainment company.
"Jeff has an outstanding reputation for management, is independent, will represent all shareholders, and has proven experience in working with government.''
Mr Kennett said he wanted to help Echo "lift the bar'' at its casinos in Sydney and Queensland.
"I am excited by the opportunity to bring to Echo . . . the substantial experience I've had with first Lloyd Williams and then James Packer and Crown in Victoria,'' Mr Kennett said.
"Crown is not only the biggest employer in the state, but it has been a catalyst for so much of Victoria's tourism, attracting the biggest and best events in the nation.''
Mr Kennett said that as a member of the Singapore Tourism Board's advisory council he strongly urged the city state to allow the construction of casinos to tap into the huge growth of the high roller gambling market.
Mr Kennett said the proposed Barangaroo six-star hotel-casino complex had the potential to become a major city attraction.
"When you have a premium site you have got to make sure whatever you put on it is more outstanding than the site itself,'' he said.
"This has the potential to not only create a huge amount of employment and associated economic benefits for NSW, but also to be a wonderment of and for Sydney.''
Mr Kennett criticised Premier Barry O'Farrell last year for failing to attend the opening of The Star following an $870 million upgrade.
Recently, in a sign he was growing impatient with a lack of action in Sydney, he said Mr O'Farrell should hold a referendum in an effort to break an election promise and sell the $10-15 billion electricity poles and wires to build infrastructure to get Sydney moving.
Crown argued that shares in Echo had been allowed to fall to $3.70 before Mr Packer's purchase of shares raised them by almost a dollar.
A Crown source warned: "James isn't going away. If he misses this one he'll wait until he gets more shares then he'll call another general meeting, then another one. He'll get there eventually.''
Didn't seem to affect the SP today at all.
John Story is gone...
Think I'll put another little bet on James here.....
http://www.smh.com.au/business/echo-...608-20094.htmlUpdate Echo Entertainment chairman John Story has resigned from the board of the casino operator, blaming James Packer's efforts to remove him.
"The board of Echo has formed the view that the ongoing disruptive campaign ... for the removal of Mr Story was damaging to the company, and that it was in the best interests of shareholders that Mr Story not contest the resolution," Echo said in a statement today.
Mr Story wanted the issue to be put to shareholders but accepted the view of the board, Echo said.
John O'Neill, a non-executive director at Echo and chief executive of the Australian Rugby Union, has been appointed acting chairman of Echo.
In a statement released this afternoon, Mr Packer welcomed the appointment of Mr O'Neill as acting chairman.
Mr Packer also dropped his efforts to seek a meeting of Echo shareholders his plan to get former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett onto the board of rival casino operator Echo Entertainment.
Separately, Echo Entertainment's board has not had any discussions with Singapore gaming operator Genting, which revealed today it had built a stake in the company, a source with knowledge of the situation said.
Analysts have speculated that Genting is preparing for an acquisition, having built up a war chest of $S3.9 billion ($3 billion), and said Echo's casinos were in cities where Genting had attempted to win licences in the past.
I was thinking of getting some at $4.26 before this news...damn my reluctance.
John Story, until a few hours ago the chairman of Sydney's Star casino owner Echo Entertainment Group, has discovered that there are no mates in the boardroom of a public company under siege - particularly when the hand grenades are being lobbed over the wall by James Packer.
Packer's Crown casino group jettisoned its call for a shareholder meeting to remove Story just hours after Story was jettisoned by his "colleagues".
Crown has not, though, backed away from wanting its man, former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett in Echo's boardroom "but we appreciate that this will be best achieved with the support of the Echo board".
Echo's statement to the market this morning left no doubt that Story was pushed out the window by fellow non-executive board members John O'Neill, Brett Paton, John Redmond and Anne Brennan.
Their excuse for throwing Story to the wolves was that Packer's very public campaign was "damaging to the company".
That is inverted thinking on a grand scale. A rival casino owner, Packer's Crown, mounts a campaign to seize control of Echo without the good grace to offer a premium to all shareholders - and the target company's board reckons resistance is damaging?
A board's responsibility is to direct a company's management to produce a profitable outcome for its investors, employees and community - do that, and your reputation looks after itself.
Packer has had his eyes on controlling Echo since it was separated from Tabcorp in June last year, confirming barely two weeks after the first Echo share traded on the market that his Crown casino operation had its foot on almost 5 per cent of its rival.
Earlier this year he stepped up the pressure, taking his holding to just short of 10 per cent and seeking state approval to go higher, then twinning that with pressure for board representation.
In the past few days Packer has requisitioned a meeting of Echo shareholders to depose Story and put Kennett on board, and funded a series of attack advertisements in national newspapers excoriating the hapless Story's record as a chairman - not just at Echo, but at Queensland's bank assurance group Suncorp.
Packer might have a point about Story's performance - but he is an opportunist, not an altruist, and it seems disingenuous to keep presenting himself and Crown as acting in the best interests of Echo shareholders.
Neither Echo's new acting chairman John O'Neill, nor fellow director Brett Paton are naive enough to think that sacrificing Story will end the Crown/Packer campaign.
O'Neill's long experience in NSW business and national sport, means that he knows exactly how the Packers play the game, and Paton is a graduate of investment bank UBS which has done, and is still doing, much business for Packer.
They are well aware that if Crown does not get what it wants from "exploring opportunities to work together to create value for all shareholders", Story may not be the last Echo director to leave the boardroom under pressure.
Good point on the inverted thinking.
Casino operator Echo Entertainment plans a capital raising, which could help support its high-roller business, amid speculation that two of its largest shareholders are preparing to discuss a possible alliance.
Singapore gaming operator Genting said on Friday it had taken a stake in Echo, raising the prospect of a battle for control of the $3 billion casino company with billionaire rival James Packer, who holds a 10 per cent stake.
The Australian Financial Review said that Mr Packer and Genting Chairman Lim Kok Thay are expected to meet to discuss a possible agreement that could include Mr Packer's plans for Echo and a potential entry for Genting to Macau.
A Packer spokesman did not return a call seeking comment. Genting declined to comment.
Echo, which owns Sydney's only casino and the Jupiter's casino on the Gold Coast, asked for a trading halt in its shares pending the announcement of the capital raising. The company did not give any details on the size of the planned raising.
Shares in Echo have gained a quarter so far this year, comfortably outperforming the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index, which is flat.
Nomura analyst Nick Berry said the proceeds would most likely be used to cut debt after the company's gearing level nudged the top end of his comfort range after a writedown on the VIP business.
Mr Berry said in a research note that Echo could raise up to $250 million from shareholders.
Last month, Echo said it would book a writedown of $29.9 million for its international VIP business, after a junket partner called SilkStar collapsed leaving bad debts and some of the VIP players it had introduced to Echo also leaving debts outstanding.
Echo also said the high-roller business at its Sydney Star casino and its three Queensland casinos had come in below estimates. Analysts have said the Sydney casino's refurbishment costing some $870 million has not led to a substantial pick-up in revenue.
Mr Packer wants to use Echo's licence to build a new casino complex in Sydney to attract more Asian high-rollers and has been agitating for change at Echo. On Friday, he succeeded in ousting the company's chairman.
Analysts speculated that Genting, Southeast Asia's largest gaming group, was preparing for an acquisition, having built up a war chest of $S3.9 billion ($3.15 billion), and said Echo's Sydney casino would be the prize.
http://www.smh.com.au/business/genti...619-20l44.htmlMalaysian gaming operator Genting has lifted its stake in casino operator Echo Entertainment with the purchase of 19.26 million shares worth $82.6 million.
The shares represent about 2.8 per cent of Echo, lifting Genting's stake to more than 7 per cent after the company started investing in Echo earlier this month.
Genting Hong Kong said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange late yesterday the investment was a good opportunity to diversify its portfolio.
Echo shares were down 1.85 per cent at $4.25 in afternoon trade, despite market rumours Genting has been lifting its stake during the day.
The increase comes as Echo tries to fend off the advances of James Packer, who has a 10 per cent holding in Echo, the owner of Sydney The Star casino and three Queensland casinos.
Mr Packer and Genting's owner KT Lim met in Macau last week to discuss a potential alliance over Echo.
Echo is seeking to shore up its balance sheet with a $454 million capital raising.
http://www.smh.com.au/business/perpe...703-21e5g.htmlA move by regulators to allow Perpetual to lift its potential stake in casinos operator Echo Entertainment Group has raised the possibility that other Echo shareholders may also gain approval to lift their stakes.
The NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority and the relevant Queensland minister have granted approval for Perpetual Investment Management to increase its potential maximum voting power in Echo from 10 per cent to 15 per cent.
My bet is they will also allow Genting and Packer to increase their stakes.
http://www.smh.com.au/business/three...730-23a2v.htmlIT IS believed a plan to carve the ownership of Echo Entertainment three ways has been considered by James Packer's Crown and Malaysian billionaire K. T. Lim with the knowledge of the Echo board.
The plan is that each of the gaming heavyweights would own 25 per cent, with minority shareholders owning the remaining 50 per cent.
This would presumably pave the way for Mr Packer to realise his dream of using Echo's casino licence in New South Wales to build a second casino at Barangaroo on Sydney's CBD foreshore.
The scenario would fit in with both Genting and Crown seeking NSW regulatory approval to increase their holdings beyond 10 per cent. Crown's decision to seek up to 25 per cent is also in keeping with the plan.
Such a deal between Genting and Crown has been considered a distinct possibility since Genting emerged on the Echo register earlier this year and moved to 10 per cent last month.
There was little point in either of the casino companies entering into a bidding war. A war of the wallets might see Mr Packer come off second. Mr Packer has always been reluctant to launch a full takeover bid for Echo as it would stretch the financial resources of Crown.
In the meantime, a friendly relationship has developed between Mr Packer and new Echo chairman John O'Neill that has now blossomed into informal discussions of a VIP joint venture between Crown and Echo, according to reports this week.
It has also been suggested that once Crown has reached 25 per cent of Echo, there could be resolution to Mr Packer's earlier move to place his representative on the Echo board.
Mr Packer's push for a board seat was launched from a 10 per cent shareholding and strongly opposed by Echo's institutional shareholders and then chairman John Story.
In response, Mr Packer launched an anti-Story campaign that ended last month when the Echo board forced Mr Story to resign.
Both Crown and Genting should receive their approvals to buy more shares in Echo by the end of the calendar year - after which it is expected both will initially increase their holdings to the 19.9 per cent takeover threshold.
Clearly, Genting will be looking to extract something if this plan comes to pass. Industry sources have suggested this could involve Echo's Gold Coast casino, Jupiters.
For a few men to be rich, many men must be poor.
http://www.smh.com.au/business/high-...810-23zx0.htmlCrown said yesterday its preferred option remained a deal that would utilise Echo's casino licence for its Barangaroo hotel.
The second option would be a casino licence directly from the New South Wales government, which would necessitate a compensation payment to Echo.
Either way, I can't see this as turning out good for Echo, because it means there'll be a huge competitor in NSW...for the high rolling VIPs. Currently giving some serious thought to reduce my holding
For a few men to be rich, many men must be poor.