Echo Entertainment raises full-year profit forecast

    Echo Entertainment has significantly raised its forecasts for full-year profit, helped by income from its Star casino in Sydney and changes to slot-machine regulation in Queensland.
    The company now sees normalized net profit in the current financial year of between $150 million ($141 million) and $153 million, from $83.5 million in 2012/13.
    It also expects earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization to rise to between $430 million and $435 million, from $372.9 million.
    In the five months to May 31, normalized group revenue rose 10.2 percent, with the domestic business, excluding VIP rebates, up 9.3 percent.
    Queensland operations are benefiting from changes made at the end of 2013 allowing $50 and $100 bills to be used in pokie machines and the introduction of cashless ticket technology.
    The company also said it is benefiting from efforts to control costs. It expects operating expenditure of $870 million this year.
    Echo is on the short-list of bidders for a casino license in downtown Brisbane, competing against Crown Resorts, Hong Kong-based Far East Consortium and joint venture partner Chow Tai Fook, and Chinese group Greenland Investment Pty Ltd, while Lend Lease and SkyCity Entertainment missed out. The company already has one license in Brisbane.
    Shares in the company jumped in Australian trading Monday, gaining 7.5 percent.