Echo gets green light on new chief

Shares rise as group confirms Q3 revenue lift, reiterates spending forecast.

Echo Entertainment Group (EGP) has confirmed a rise in third-quarter revenue as it announced regulatory approval for Matt Bekier to take the role of chief executive officer.

Investors were impressed, sending shares 5.39% higher to $2.54 at the 10.15am (AEST) official market open, against a benchmark index fall of 0.9%.

Mr Bekier's appointment was announced in February and he will commence in the role today, replacing John Redmond.

The casino operator also said, ahead of its official third-quarter earnings report, that it lifted normalised gross revenue by 5.7% in the March quarter compared with the previous corresponding period, or a 13.2% lift on an actual basis.

For the domestic business, excluding the VIP Rebate arm, revenue increased by 6.4% compared with the prior corresponding period, with gaming revenues in Sydney and Queensland lifting.

Echo confirmed its guidance of operating expenditure below $880 million in fiscal 2014, saying its cost optimisation program continues to support earnings growth.

Its full-year result remains subject to a number of factors including macro-economic conditions, significant items, win rate volatility in premium gaming rooms, regulatory changes and level of debt provisions, Echo said.

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