Vienna/Hanover, 09.06.2005 – At a Press Conference in Casino Hannover, the Board of Directors of Casinos Austria International presented their Annual Report for 2004 and discussed the company’s key results and plans for the coming year. The decision to move this year’s event to Hanover, capital of Lower Saxony, marked CAI‘s acquisition of Spielbanken Niedersachsen GmbH at the beginning of 2005.
2004 proved to be another highly eventful and successful year for the casino development and management company, with continued corporate growth, new joint ventures, an increase in total revenues and a further rise in visitor numbers at its network of casino operations. Revenues (win, registered tips, entrance) for the casinos operated by CAI in 2004 increased by 15% to EUR 704 million. Visitor numbers for the period were also up by 14% to 14.9 million. CAI‘s casinos offered gaming entertainment at a total of 929 gaming tables and 8,071 slot machines and employed a total of 7,400 staff from 35 nations.
CEO Paul Herzfeld was delighted with his company’s success: „These are very positive achievements given current economic trends in the global gaming industry, and further evidence of the success of our international investment and growth policies“. CFO, Josef Leutgeb, added: „This positive trend continues throughout the whole of the Casinos Austria Group, with a 12% increase in group revenues in 2004 to EUR 2.6 billion and a IFRS consolidated net income of EUR 39.1 million, a rise of 2.6%“.
In June, Brussels City Council announced its decision to award the concession for its prestigious new casino, Grand Casino Brussels, to CAI. The Brussels casino is one of the most important casino developments in Europe in recent years, and the CAI bid was selected in a highly competitive international tender process. Work is currently ongoing in the development and construction of the casino, which is due to open in winter 2005/2006 with a planned opening gaming mix of 15 tables and 220 slot machines.
In July, CAI successfully completed its off-market takeover bid for all the shares in its Australian Stock Exchange listed subsidiary, Casinos Austria International Ltd. (CAIL), that it did not already own. Based in Brisbane, Australia, CAIL is the holding company for CAI‘s non-European interests. The successful completion of this takeover enables CAI to centralize its international business at its headquarters in Vienna, thereby streamlining operations and maximizing growth opportunities across the whole of its international casino network.
At the end of November, the State Government of Lower Saxony gave the green light to CAI‘s acquisition of Spielbanken Niedersachsen GmbH (SNG), owner and operator of all ten casinos in the north-western German state. CAI was chosen from over 20 international bidders following a Europe-wide tender procedure. Negotiations were completed in early 2005 and ownership of SNG was officially transferred to CAI on 07.05.2005 at a ceremony in Casino Hannover. CAI plans to invest over EUR 40 million in SNGs casinos in the coming years.
In April 2005, CAI issued its first ever public corporate bond to domestic retail and institutional investors in Austria. The initial issue volume for the bond of EUR 150 million was later increased to EUR 180 million in response to the huge investor demand: the issue was more than three times oversubscribed within the first 36 hours of its announcement.
The proceeds raised from the corporate bond will be used predominantly to finance CAI‘s expansion activities. These include not only the recent acquisition of SNG and the development of Grand Casino Brussels, but also the company’s plans to expand its international portfolio into new regions and sectors. CAI is actively investigating investment opportunities in the European, Asian, African and South American markets and will also continue to optimize results in its current markets by providing its partners and casino visitors alike with superior services and an attractive gaming and entertainment mix.