Crown warns of weak sentiment

Refurbishment, soft consumer sentiment affect Melbourne and Perth resorts.

Crown (CWN) chief executive officer Rowen Craigie says weak consumer sentiment has affected the group's Melbourne and Perth resorts but gaming revenue so far this financial year is in line with the previous corresponding period.

Mr Craigie told the group's annual general meeting main floor gaming revenue for the two resorts in the first 17 weeks of fiscal 2014, excluding VIP programs, was in line with the previous corresponding period, but non-gaming revenue grew 10%.

"The impact of refurbishment on the main gaming floor at Crown Melbourne, the temporary loss of car parking spaces at Crown Perth and general softness in consumer sentiment have all impacted current trading," Mr Craigie said.

"The level of VIP program play activity improved from the levels experienced in the second half of last financial year."

Chairman James Packer said the group's proposal for a Sydney resort offered a once in a lifetime tourism infrastructure opportunity.

The proposal for a six-star resort includes VIP gaming facilities, 350 hotel rooms and suites, luxury apartments, restaurants, bars, retail outlets, pool and spa facilities and conference rooms.

"If we are successful in gaining the official go ahead, Crown will build one of the world's great hotel resorts for Sydney, something that all Australians will be very proud of," Mr Packer said.

"We understand the importance of the site, we understand the incredible tourism opportunity and we believe with our world renowned architects, Wilkinson Eyre, that we can create an iconic landmark that will feature globally on postcards and travel magazines, attracting countless visitors from across the world."

Mr Packer also said he was hopeful the group's proposal for a resort in Sri Lanka could proceed.

Crown Sri Lanka would be a five-star resort with 450 rooms and suites, restaurants, entertainment offerings, conferencing and event spaces, gaming areas and retail outlets.

Mr Packer said Sri Lanka's economy would benefit from the project and Colombo residents would gain 2500 jobs and world-class hospitality training.

"We remain in final negotiations with the Sri Lankan government and local authorities and are hopeful that the Sri Lankan Parliament will soon debate the final regulatory and tax framework allowing the project to proceed," he said.

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