Echo first-half profit falls

Group's H1 NPAT hit by one-off costs from restructure of financing arrangements, Redmond to transition CEO role to Bekier.

Echo Entertainment Group (EGP) has posted a considerable decline in reported net profit after tax, due mostly to one-off costs associated with the restructure of financing arrangements.

The entertainment group has also announced the transition timeline for its change of leader, with chief executive officer and managing director John Redmond set to depart in the second-half of the year to be replaced by Matt Bekier.

In the six months to December 31, Echo posted a reported net profit after tax of $46.1 million, a 30.5% decline on the previous corresponding period's $66.5 million. The result is due primarily to a one-off, pre-tax expense of $22.1 million from extinguishing out-of-the-money interest rate swaps positions and lower actual win rate in the VIP business.

Normalised net profit after tax in the period was $71.5 million, a 1.5% increase on the previous corresponding period.

Revenue in the same period was $867.8 million, a 4.9% fall on the $912.6 million in the previous corresponding period.

The group will pay a fully-franked interim dividend of four cents, in line with the previous interim dividend.

John Redmond retires

Echo said Mr Redmond would retire from the company in the second half of the year to return to the United States.

Mr Redmond has already begun the transition of his CEO responsibilities to Mr Bekier, who has served as chief financial officer and an executive director of Echo since the company’s establishment as a separate listed entity.

"Over a transition period of the next three months, John will be handing over his responsibilities to Matt Bekier," Echo chairman John O'Neill said.

"Matt knows the company and the Australian market exceptionally well and has been working closely with John in re-establishing a path towards profitable growth.

"The board is confident that Matt is the right person to lead the group forward on the foundations that have been built, and looks forward to the continuity that Matt’s appointment will provide."

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