James Packer's casino profits took an 89% hit in Macau

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James Packer’s Crown Resorts posted a flat 1.6% rise in half-year profits to $205.045 million on weak returns from Macau.

Revenue was up 10.1% to $1.879 billion for the six months to December.

However, Crown’s share of profits from Melco Crown Entertainment, the casino operator in Macau, were down 89% to $9.4 million, a drop of $75.9 million.

A short time ago, Crown shares were weaker by 5.5% to $11.86.

“Overall gross gaming revenue across the Macau market in the half year to 31 December 2015 declined by more than 30%,” says Crown CEO Rowen Craigie.

Interim dividend payments were saved by a special dividend from Melco Crown Entertainment. Crown’s share is $US120 million.

Crown’s dividend is 33 cents a share, franked to 50%, up from 18 cents last year.

The VIP program turnover in Australia was down 3.8% to $35.7 billion but Craigie says this is reasonable given previous strong growth and a depressed VIP program play market across Asia.

Overall revenue for Australia was up 4.2% to $1.695 billion, with main floor gaming revenue 9.8% higher at $861.1 million.

Billionaire James Packer is no longer a director of Crown Resorts but still has 53.1% of the casino business.

There are reports that Packer’s private company, Consolidated Press Holdings, is speaking with private equity firms and pension funds about a possible joint bid to take the casinos private.

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