Crown Resorts Ltd announced in a filing with the Australian Securities Exchange Wednesday that they plan to separate most of their non-Australian located businesses from their domestics. They will also explore an IPO for a vehicle that could see all of their Australian hotels except Melbourne’s Crown Towers enter a property trust. Crown would hold a 51% stake in the property trust and raise capital with the remaining 49%. The filing didn’t give specifics such as the number of shares to be issued if the IPO plan comes to fruition.
The “demerger” is seen by some to be a move that would help Crown insulate it’s more profitable domestic business from under-performing properties in Macau, but this analysis and reasoning doesn’t take into account the company’s current positives in Asia, including City of Dreams Manila. VIP revenues are expected to shrink more than 15 percent y-o-y in Macau for 2016, but grow in Australia by as much as 5 percent.
“We believe that Crown Resorts’ extremely high-quality Australian resorts are not being fully valued and the Crown Resorts share price has been highly correlated to the performance of its investment in Macau,” Crown chairman Robert Rankin said in the statement, said Robert Rankin, Crown Resorts’ chairman.
“Following the proposed demerger, investors will have the opportunity to invest in Crown Resorts which will own and operate Australia’s pre-eminent integrated resorts, with exciting developments such as Crown Sydney,” added Mr Rankin.
Crown Resorts reduced its stake in Melco Crown Ltd to just over 27% earlier this year. Melco Crown is a venture between Crown Resorts and Lawrence Ho’s HKEx listed Melco International Development Ltd.
The planned move is not seen as an abandonment of the Macau market, but rather a reshuffle and opportunity to raise capital through an initial public offering for the property trust. “Crown Resorts continues to have great faith in the long-term development of the Macau market. Macau remains the world’s most important and exciting gaming market over the longer term,” Mr Rankin stated in the most recent filing.