Star Entertainment CEO calls for calm over $700m stock slump

Star chief executive Matt BekierStar Entertainment chief executive Matt Bekier has urged shareholders to remain calm and ignore the “misinformation” surrounding the company’s long-term viability.

Australian casino operators have taken a battering on the bourse in the wake of China’s recent raids on the Macau-based holdings of Crown Resorts.

Crown’s resulting fall in the stock market triggered in a similar slide for Star, whose share price dropped to a nine-month low of $4.88 last week.

That equates to around $700 million slashed from the company’s market value since news broke of Chinese authorities arresting 18 Crown staff on suspicion of corruption.

Despite that alarming trend, Bekier has called for patience as things play out and the specifics of the situation become clearer.

“Because there is a lot of misinformation and very little reliable information, everybody is extremely cautious and that goes for us and some of our customers,” Bekier told Newscorp.

“Because this is a reasonably quiet period of time, it’s almost impossible to read out the trend.”

The Macau casino industry has endured some tough times since China began cracking down on VIP gambling services as part of a nationwide corruption sting.

Such is the uncertainty over the future high roller gambling in the Special Administrative Region, many operators have started branching into non-gaming resort developments in an attempt to diversify their revenue streams.

Australian gaming firms have leapt at the chance to offer big spenders an alternative in the Asia-Pacific region, with James Packer’s Crown Sydney and the new Queen’s Wharf project aimed especially at international VIP gamblers.

But according to the Star CEO, who spiked investor concerns last week when he cancelled a scheduled trip to Macau, high rollers make up less than 30 per cent of the company’s overall business.

Bekier added: “We will continue to monitor developments closely, while working with staff and Asian-based external agents to understand the situation more fully as it unfolds.”

Star Entertainment’s current operations include The Star Casino in Sydney, The Treasury in Brisbane and Jupiters on the Gold Coast.

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