Australasian casino operator SkyCity Entertainment has announced that it intends to raise $177.76 million from shareholders via a one-for-ten rights offer in order to “fund future growth projects”.

Auckland-based SkyCity Entertainment operates five casinos in New Zealand and Australia and last month unexpectedly saw Nigel Morrison resign as CEO citing the “incredible” demands of the job.

In a filing with the New Zealand Stock Exchange, the operator revealed that it intends to use the net proceeds of the offer to repay bank debt and reduce gearing in order to support the funding of future capital expenditure commitments in Auckland and Adelaide.

SkyCity Entertainment declared that each new share is to be priced at $2.97 with eligible shareholders entitled to acquire one new stock for every ten that they currently hold.

The New Zealand firm, which operates casinos in Auckland, Queenstown and Hamilton as well as similar venues in the Australian cities of Darwin and Adelaide, recently reported a 10.2% increase year-on-year in normalised revenues and earnings to $379.98 million for the final six months of 2015. It stated that half-year earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation grew by 15.4% to $120.54 million while its net profit after tax hit $57.75 million, which represented a 28.2% boost.