Strategy change sees Packer drop all international ambitions for home comforts

Implementing a ‘comprehensive strategic change’ James Packer’s Crown Resorts (Crown) will scale back on all its international investments and ambitions, to focus on growing its Australian home enterprises.

Confirming its corporate strategy change, Crown will no longer spin-off its international assets into a separate enterprise seeking an ASX-listing (plan announced in May 2016).

Fully committing to Crown home markets, Packer will now halve his 27% stake in troubled Asian Casino operator Melco Crown Entertainment (MCE), agreeing a $1.6 billion share sell-off to MCE lead shareholder Lawrence Ho.

Australian business news sources further report that Packer advisers are seeking further ‘potential options’ for the outright sale of the casino and leisure magnets remaining equity in MCE.

The large-scale retreat of its international business plans by Packer and Crown, sees the operator drop its $2 billion ‘Alon Casino’ Las Vegas project, which was first announced this June. Crown governance are reported to want no international tie-ins, as the company focuses on growing its home-based Melbourne and Perth properties.

The earnings generated from the sale of its MCE shares will be used to fund Crown’s Sydney Barangaroo casino resort project which is underpinned by an $800 million debt.

Moving forward Australian business analysts have commented that central to Packer’s growth plans for Crown home-based assets will be whether the firm’s casino enterprises can lure high-wagering Chinese players who have moved away from Macau due to the Chinese government’s tougher monitoring of gambling activities.

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