Packer steps down as Crown chairman

13 August 2015

James Packer has opted to step down as chairman of Crown Resorts after the Australian entertainment group posted a year-on-year drop in both normalised and actual net profit after tax during the 12 months through to June 30.

Packer has departed the role with immediate effect and will now be replaced by Robert Rankin.

Despite stepping down as chairman, Packer will continue to serve as a director of the company and will also be appointed as a senior executive director.

Packer will also remain co-chairman of the Melco Crown Entertainment arm and the Alon Resort project in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“Crown remains my No.1 business priority and passion,” Packer said.

“Rob Rankin has my complete trust and respect as an executive and he will do an outstanding job as chairman.

“Given our global growth and aspirations, this is the right time for the company to make this change.

“I will continue to drive key projects, including our joint business in Asia and our planned resort in Las Vegas.

“I will also be working to improve Crown’s on-line strategies, an area where I believe we could be doing better and a platform which will provide great potential for global growth in the future.”

New chairman Rankin added: “James has put his heart and soul into the company and worked tirelessly to build one of Australia's most successful tourism and entertainment businesses.

“James may be leaving the chairman’s role, but he will have day-to-day engagement and will be actively involved at board level to ensure we meet our targets and ambitious development goals.”

Confirmation of Packer’s departure came after Crown posted its full-year results for the 12 months through to June 30, 2015.

Actual net profit after tax at the firm amounted to Aus$439.6 million (€290.5 million/US$323.2 million), which represents a year-on-year loss of 37.4% on the Aus$702.5 million posted at the end of the previous 12 months.

Normalised net profit after tax, which has been adjusted to exclude the impact of any variance from theoretical win rate on VIP program play and pre-opening costs, was also down 18.9% to Aus$518.8 million.

Actual earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and significant items fell 18.6% on a year-on-year basis to Aus$515.2 million, although this was more positive in Crown’s normalised results, which showed an increase of 5.4% to Aus$824.9 million.

Despite losses across other actual key financials, Crown posted positive revenue figures in terms of both actual and normalised results.

Actual revenue was up 12.6% on a year-on-year basis to Aus$3.5 billion, with normalised revenue also jumping 16% to Aus$3.4 billion.

In its results announcement, Crown noted it was hit particularly hard in Macau, with earnings down 44.6% amid a downturn in the casino industry following the Chinese government’s decision to crack down on corruption.

Related article: New Crownbet brand launches in Australia