Between the recent increase in cost to insure Crown Resort’s notes, rising net debt, widening spread of credit default swaps, significant profit decreases from Macau properties, and plans to spend billions more in Australia and Las Vegas – James Packer’s business enterprises and expansion plans are facing heightened fiscal scrutiny.
Crown recently announced that Packer would step down as chairman and move off the day-to-day management of the corporation to stay focused on development and expansion. His prime projects are the 35-acre Ālon integrated mega-resort in Las Vegas, and a cyber-security company in Israel. Additionally, Packer may be looking forward to re-tool MelcoCrown’s $2.3 billion Studio City resort in Macau to extend beyond gaming into exhibition.
Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse are heading up financing for the Ālon property, and looking towards third party equity which would lower Crown’s current 73% ownership. However such a move is not inconsistent with other properties in their portfolio.
Despite troubling profit slumps from Macau and noted concern from bond holders, Moody’s Investors Service reports that Crown does have a stable outlook with no immediate impact to their ratings. The 2.5 leverage “remains within the 3.0 tolerance level set for the rating, but represents a significant reduction in headroom and increases the risk of downward rating pressure in light of the number of major projects that Crown is undertaking.”