New Zealand headquartered casino operator SkyCity Entertainment has signed up to 40:40 Vision, which pledges a commitment to achieve gender balance across its executive leadership by 2023.

Casino Beats reports that the investor and business-led initiative is aiming to achieve 40 per cent women, 40 per cent men and 20 per cent any gender across the leadership of all ASX200 companies by 2030.

SkyCity Entertainment chief people and culture officer Claire Walker said over the past 12 months, SkyCity has constantly challenged itself to increase female representation, particularly in senior leadership roles and has maintained a gender balance across the top four levels of the organisation.

“This has been driven by initiatives which support the development of our female talent pipeline and by ensuring strong female candidates are identified in the recruitment process for all executive roles and any systemic bias in recruitment, development and promotion processes are removed.

“SkyCity is also working to understand intersectionality and its impact on women from ethnic minorities, starting by measuring and understanding our ethnic pay gap.”

SkyCity is also a member of Women in Gaming and Hospitality Australasia, Champions for Change New Zealand and Global Women NZ.

In 2020, the company was awarded the gender tick for the second year in a row in recognition of its commitment to and ongoing work in providing an equitable workplace for all employees.

SkyCity chief executive Michael Ahearne said he is committed to building the capability of SkyCity’s leaders in understanding and leveraging diversity of thought.

“There is clear evidence that having women in leadership roles is not only fairer but leads to better profits and better corporate governance,” he said.

We’ve taken the 40:40 Vision pledge and we’re calling on Australasia’s biggest companies to do the same, drive real change and reap the benefits of having fairer, more inclusive workplaces and stronger business performance.”

In financial news, the casino operator wants to raise $125 million via bonds and has flagged its earnings will be well below pre-pandemic levels.

The gaming, entertainment and hospitality business has released an offer document showing how it can receive an additional $50 million, taking the offer up to $175 million, if it decides to.

“SkyCity has announced an offer of up to $125 million, with the ability to accept over-subscriptions of up to an additional $50 million at SkyCity’s discretion, of six-year, unsecured, unsubordinated, fixed-rate bonds, maturing on May 21, 2027, to institutional investors and New Zealand retail investors,” it said.

The offer opens on May 10 and will close on May 14 and the bonds could get a BBB- rating by S&P Global Ratings.

“Despite positive current trading, there is no change to the previous guidance for financial year 2021, with SkyCity expecting group normalised EBITDA to be well above FY20, but still well below pre-COVID-19 and FY19 levels,” it said.

The operating environment remains unpredictable due to COVID-19, it said, citing the most recent 11-day Auckland closures in February and March.

“Accordingly, SkyCity is unable to provide formal earnings guidance at this time.

“Based on expected performance and assuming no prolonged property closures before the end of FY21, SkyCity expects to meet its financial covenants for the June 30, 2021 testing period and pay a final dividend consistent with the revised dividend policy announced at the time of its 1H21 results,” it said.

The company raised $230 million new equity from shareholders last June and July.

It gave an update on the NZ International Convention Centre project, saying there had been no material change to previous guidance on total costs, which remained at $750 million.


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