Deutsche cuts earnings forecast for Crown

Deutsche Bank has cut its earnings forecasts for casinos operator Crown Resorts in fiscal 2015, citing disappointing revenue and earnings from operations in Macau.


The Macau gaming market has been experiencing weak trading conditions.

Crown Resorts has a stake of around 34 per cent in Melco Crown, a joint-venture that operates the City of Dreams casino resort, Altira hotel and Mocha Clubs in Macau.

Melco Crown is also developing the Studio City casino resort in Macau.

“We have reduced our earnings forecasts by five to six per cent to reflect lower earnings from Melco Crown, CrownBet and Aspinalls, partly offset by higher earnings from Crown Melbourne,” Deutsche Bank analysts said in a research note.

Turnover from high-rolling VIP gamblers in Macau had fallen 51 per cent in the six months to June following a crackdown on corruption in China.

CrownBet, Crown’s online sports book business, had been impacted by higher-than-expected advertising spending.

Aspinalls, Crown’s London-based casino, had been hit by a downturn in global VIP turnover.

The Deutsche Bank analysts cut their forecasts despite a relaxation of transit visa restrictions in Macau that should allow more frequent and longer visits by Chinese gamblers.

The analysts said the changes to visa arrangements were a “minor positive” for the casino operators because it was the first supportive policy to be announced by macau authorities in 12 months.

The visa changes should assist VIP and some other premium gamblers to stay longer in Macau.

On the positive side for Crown Resorts, the analysts said Crown’s flagship casino in Melbourne was benefiting from stronger domestic gaming revenue, a lift in the number of Chinese visitors, and growth in VIP turnover.

The Deutsche Bank report said Victorian gaming machine revenue was up 3.9 per cent in the five months to May.

“We would expect Crown Melbourne to be taking incremental share from the pubs and clubs,” the report said.

Deutsche Bank revised its fiscal 2015 profit forecast for Crown to $481.1 million, down six per cent on the prior forecast of $512.1 million.

Shares in Crown closed 13 cents higher at $13.07.

Qld ‘trafficker’ families offer sureties

Two men allegedly involved in a multimillion dollar ice trafficking ring have secured conditional bail thanks to generous sureties from their families.


Brad Matthew Watt, 40, and Luke Perrett, 36, made bail applications in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Tuesday after their arrest last month.

Police allege the two, along with Adam Charles Johns, trafficked around $3 million of methylamphetamine between the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane over a period of one year.

They have each been charged under Queensland’s anti-bikie legislation, not because of ties to motorcycle gangs but because the trio functioned as a business.

They face minimum sentences of 15 years behind bars.

Watt’s partner, who was in court, stumped up a $50,000 surety to secure his release.

“Adequate conditions of bail will, as much as possible, reduce the risk of you failing to appear,” Magistrate Michael Quinn said in accepting the offer.

In a separate hearing, defence barrister Alastair McDougall told the court the case against Perrett involved intercepted phone calls in which Perrett and Johns had used what police believe was coded language to discuss their transactions.

“My client’s instructions are that’s simply not the case at all,” Mr McDougall said.

Perrett’s grandparents offered the equity from their $325,000 property as a surety for his release on bail.

Magistrate Quinn said his family was loving and generous.

“If you were to abscond on bail and not front court, then your elderly grandparents will lose their property,” he warned.

He granted conditional bail with a $60,000 surety.

Perrett must adhere to a curfew between 9pm and 5am every day, reside in Gatton, report three times weekly to police and surrender his passport.

Watt must also surrender his passport and both must not contact one another.

Johns will appear in court on Thursday.

Offshore-built subs prompt voter backlash

The federal government faces a voter backlash in South Australia if new submarines are built overseas.


SA independent senator Nick Xenophon, a vocal supporter of building new subs in his state, says he will field candidates in all electorates in the state, taking votes from sitting Liberal MPs.

Coalition frontbencher Steve Ciobo admitted his SA colleagues are worried.

“Understandably there is concern in South Australia,” he told Sky News on Tuesday.

Recent opinion polls show the coalition lagging Labor by about four points in two-party terms nationally, and at a state level SA Labor premier Jay Weatherill has a comfortable 54-46 lead.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Tuesday gave “an absolute, categoric guarantee” there will be more submarine jobs in SA.

It was more emphatic than his comment to a recent defence conference in Canberra where he pledged more “sustainment work” in SA, where the navy’s six Collins subs were built.

Three contenders are bidding to build the Collins replacements – Japan with its Soryu-class, French firm DCNS with a conventionally powered version of its nuclear Barracuda-class and German firm TKMS with its new Type-216.

So far only TKMS has specifically undertaken to do the work in Australia.

The government has since hedged on whether the new subs should be built in Australia. Labor has accused it of doing a secret deal for construction in Japan.

Senator Xenophon polled almost a quarter of the Senate vote at the 2013 election, falling just short of two Senate seats.

Capitalising on rising unemployment from the end of the car industry and disaffection about the subs deal, he could potentially sway results in some Liberal seats.

“I’m working very hard to get a number of really credible, strong lower house candidates,” he said.

Opposition employment spokesman Brendan O’Connor said the fear was that Mr Abbott would exercise his “captain’s pick” and have the submarines built in Japan.

“We know that Tony Abbott has had a secret deal with the prime minister of Japan and he’s trying to find his way through it by having a sham evaluation process,” he said.

“And that’s why his government members in South Australia are so nervous.”

South Australian Liberal MP Andrew Southcott said a decision for an offshore build of submarines would be poorly received in his state.

“There is absolutely no question about that,” he told Sky News.

“It would be very difficult for the Liberal Party in South Australia.”

Mr Southcott said his preference was for a local build and both TKMS and DCNS had indicated they could build in South Australia.

Fellow SA Liberal, Senator Sean Edwards, said he had made clear the best bidder would be the one with maximum work for Australia.

“The politics of this is profound. There is no question about that,” he said.

“It’s a very important issue for all Australians, particularly South Australia.”

Edge of Life: mothers speak candidly about their premature babies

Janelle felt that at 22 weeks pregnant, everything was fine.


She had bought a cot and a pram and was looking forward to the birth of her baby boy.

So when she drove to the hospital one morning because of a pain that kept coming and going, she thought the doctors would give her a Panadol and send her home.

“I drove myself there in labour and I didn’t know,” she said.

The doctors told Janelle and her husband Leslie that they were going to have a baby – and that it was going to be born very early and the prospects for her child were very grim.

“We made the decision not to resuscitate the baby, “ Janelle said.

“They were saying, you know, if he does survive … he won’t live a normal life.

“He will have significant disabilities.”

The couple had some 15 minutes to make their heartbreaking decision and they spent several precious hours with baby Max before he passed away.

“Your hearts says ‘what if?’ and, you know, when you then go on to meet other parents of extremely premature babies that have survived, it’s very hard because you feel … [he] could he have been the one in a million that proved them all wrong,”

Figures show that every year more than 2,000 Australian women give birth to extremely premature babies, who are born less than 28 weeks after gestation.  

Jenni had a similar experience to Janelle where she suddenly found herself in labour at 23 weeks with twins.

Despite the odds against her twin boys, Jenni and her husband Frazer wanted to resuscitate their children.

“We just said look, do everything you can.”

Baby Jack didn’t make it but his twin Flynn pulled through.

Flynn is now 12 and although fit and healthy, he suffers long-terms problems and could not speak until he was 10.

“We had a lot of scans and things done and it showed lesions on the cerebellum and brain injury,” Jenni said.

Flynn has been to China for stem cell treatment to help him speak and this has helped him interact with his parents through speech.

Bioethicist Francesca Minerva said the majority of parents don’t expect to give birth to premature babies and had to suddenly make these life changing decisions.

“Why don’t we start telling women who are pregnant around you know, 12-13 weeks that they should start thinking about this,” Ms Minerva said.

“Obviously, you don’t really want to upset people with these kind of thoughts but if you are prepared and you know there is a possibility that at 23-24 weeks you will have a baby, then you are informed.

“And you can give your consent in a different way.”

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