Gaming January

The metered Queensland pokie win (player loss) in January was up 4.75% on the previous year. However, while approved machine numbers increased, operational numbers declined so win (loss) per machine was up 6.0%. The divide between clubs and hotels continues:

Gaming January 1

While growth in Townsville was in line with the state at 4.8% Cairns excelled with 11% growth across council area venues in January and 10.7% for the broader Cairns SA4.

Gaming January 2

The only detailed SA2 data is for Cairns City as OLGR don’t publish numbers where there are limited venues. Somewhat lame IMHO. Growth here is well into double digits in recent months.

Gaming January 3

The divergence there from December 2016 follows closure of the Courthouse Hotel with 35 machines. These are current Cairns City SA2 pokie sites:

Gaming sites by Statistical Area 2 (CAIRNS CITY)
Site Name Approved EGMs
Total sites: 9 357

The January numbers report 267 operational machines in Cairns City SA2 compared to 357 approved. OLGR numbers are ex-casino with Reef licenced for about 500 machines.


Experience Results 1H2018

With reporting season in full swing the highly acquisitive Experience Co has also reported results this week. The interest here is in the stakes acquired in recent times in prominent Cairns based tourism businesses. Commentary from Experience:

Raging Thunder  • 6-month contribution to 1H18 results • Financials in line with management expectations • PAX numbers up 5.7% YOY • Raging Thunder Marine now being managed by Reef Magic Cruises, with Reef Magic engineering department now responsible for maintenance of Raging Thunder marine assets

Reef Magic Cruises  • 6-month contribution to 1H18 results • Financials in line with management expectations • PAX numbers in marine as a whole increased by 1% YOY • Reef Magic now operates out of Experience Co Headquarters in Cairns, having moved out of previous lease arrangements

Great Barrier Reef Helicopters  • 2-month contribution to 1H18 results • Financials in line with management expectations • PAX numbers increased 9.8% YOY

Big Cat Green Island Cruises • 18 day contribution to 1H18 results

Tropical Journeys  • 12 day contribution to 1H18 results

Previous Posts: An eye on Experience ; Experience on Watch



Mantra Results 1H2018

Mantra Group results for 1H2018 released today. Overall the group result was rather flat to be kind but commentary is usually of interest because of the significant hotel resort accommodation presence in TNQ.

Mantra.pngRevPAR = revenue per available room

Most interest in Mantra though is on progress of the takeover by Accor which seems to have lagged a month or two behind the initially indicated schedule. Mantra have indicated the arrangement is on track for completion within FY2018. This remains subject to FIRB and ACCC approval with the following commentary from Mantra.

AccorHotels has been actively engaging with the ACCC, including responding to information requests, and believes the approval process remains on track. AccorHotels remains confident of obtaining approval.

As previously posted the combined group would have a very strong presence in TNQ and particularly in locations such as Palm Cove with five of the prime Williams Esplanade properties: Corporate action in accommodation

The secular decline of Mt Isa

There is a good post over at Queensland Economy Watch on regional airfares: Why is it so? Regional Qld airfares 2-3 times higher than in the city – guest post by Craig Wilson

Figure 2: Index of domestic passengers, 1985-86 to 2016-17

Following positive commentary from Cairns Airport on regional routes I have also recently looked at the same BITRE data set indexed here:

Secular decline of Mt Isa

Hmm. I could also turn this into a post on the dangers of locking an index to a starting point on a linear scale.  I could also note that around 10% of airport traffic into the remote North West mining province of Queensland is now recorded through Cloncurry combined with Mt Isa up from zero for a few years following the index benchmark date.

Then came January

Cairns Aero rainfall for January has demolished the monthly average:

Rain Jan 1

In a way this feels a bit strange as it doesn’t really feel like a severe wet season with hesitant monsoonal systems in the Coral Sea. This has also returned the moving annual rainfall back to average for Cairns Aero which has been rare in recent years:

Rain Jan 2

Not sure how widely reflective this is though. The BOM changed their Water Storage info presentation on the website last year and aspects of this still annoy me. The most recently posted data up the hill for Tinaroo is only to January 20 at just 35.9% of capacity.

Update: Tinaroo has now been updated to 30 January at 37.9%

Tinaroo Water Information; Weekly Tropical Climate Note

Queensland’s flaccid regions

Conus: Regional Building Approvals data shows the regions trailing off

Conus Trend approvals in Greater Brisbane for Nov stood at 2,008 (unchanged from Oct) and up 17.7% from the same time a year ago. In the Rest of Queensland the story was very different with Trend approvals at 1,334 (down from 1,376 in Oct), down 18.8% year on year and the lowest since March 2015.

The aggregated regional data for Rest of Queensland ex Brisbane from the ABS is also heavily influenced by Gold Coast as the largest region (with about a third of approvals currently) and Sunshine Coast as next largest.  A comparison over the series between Cairns and Gold Coast:


I always like to aggregate Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast into SEQ for comparison with the remaining ‘Bush’ regions. The Bush here is now at an all time low for the series since 2001:


A closer look over time at those flaccid regions:


Source data is Conus Trend from ABS SA4.

Over & out Auckland

AFR: Auckland International Airport finds buyer for Cairns Airport stake

The deal values Cairns Airport’s equity at $NZ1.51 billion ($1.38 billion), which is about 20-times forecast profit based on earnings forecast estimates by Kiwi stockbroker Forsyth Barr.
As Street Talk reported last week, Auckland International Airport has had First NZ/Credit Suisse marketing its stake recently, as part of a strategic review. The company told shareholders earlier this month that it had seen “strong buyer interest” in the non-core asset, and it was progressing plans to sell its holding.
North Queensland Airports owns Cairns Airport – Australia’s seventh largest airport by annual passenger numbers – and Mackay Airport.
North Queensland Airports reported $142.7 million revenue and a $46.8 million net profit after tax in the year to June 30, according to AIA’s annual report.


Will have to check back through AIA disclosures to verify but not a bad return over seven years since January 2010 if these media reports are accurate: Auckland Airport buys stake in North Queensland Airports

AUCKLAND International Airport said today it has agreed to purchase a 24.6 per cent stake in North Queensland Airports from Westpac Bank.
The Auckland-based company said the stake in North Queensland Airports, which operates the Cairns and Mackay airports in Queensland, will cost approximately NZ$166 million (A$132m).

This sale transaction is valued at A$370 million for the 24.6% AIA stake. Well at least we funded a hospital expansion from the privatisation proceeds of A$530 million in December 2008.


Entertainment in the City

Bates wants Courthouse Hotel reopened as a pub

Cairns Regional Council bought the heritage-listed former law court and pub for $5.75 million in late-2016 with plans to transform it into the centrepiece of a world-class arts precinct.
Those moves are still underway, and it took about six months for the sale to be finalised, but the venue has sat dormant for more than a year.

Meanwhile, Pokie revenue in Cairns CBD has been growing strongly in recent months despite removal of the 35 Courthouse Hotel machines from trade. The Barrier Reef also continues to trade restricted hours I believe.

Mug Punters

Note: Win here is a win for the pokie not the punter! Numbers are ex Casino for Cairns City SA2.