January 28, 2019 / 8:50 PM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-NZ's SkyCity Entertainment sees better than expected H1 earnings

(Adds details on year-ago results)

Jan 29 (Reuters) - Casino operator SkyCity Entertainment Group on Tuesday said it expected to report better than expected growth in underlying earnings for first half of fiscal 2019, helped by favourable performance in Auckland and strong growth in its international business.

The Auckland-headquartered firm said it expected first-half profit to be around NZ$97 million ($66 million), up 11 percent from last year.

However, due to the likelihood of a slower second half, the company said it expected full-year normalised earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) to be “slightly ahead” of the previous guidance.

The company flagged that the earnings growth in second half of the fiscal would be “harder to achieve” due to an improved performance achieved year ago.

The company posted a second-half profit of NZ$79.6 million last year for a record full-year underlying profit, spurred by a rebound in its international business and renewed focus on its Chinese clients.

The company said it would announce its 2019 first-half results on Feb. 13. ($1 = 1.4639 New Zealand dollars) (Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; editing by David Evans)

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