Covid effects keep Skyline dividend off table

Jan Hunt. Photo: Mountain Scene
Jan Hunt. Photo: Mountain Scene
For the third consecutive year, Skyline Enterprises shareholders will not be receiving a dividend - at least, not yet.

In a letter to shareholders, Skyline board chairwoman Jan Hunt said Covid had continued to have a "significant impact" on the Queenstown-based company’s businesses in New Zealand and overseas.

The preliminary profit before tax for the year ended March 31, 2022, from continuing operations, was $34.9 million, down from $68.6 million last year.

In 2020 it was $23.7 million.

The result included a positive increase in commercial property values ($7.7 million) - largely driven by Queenstown’s O’Connells redevelopment - the balance being underlying trading profits.

"This compares to an increase in commercial property values of $36.4 million and underlying trading profits of $32.2 million in the prior year," Ms Hunt’s letter said.

"The decrease of $5 million in underlying trading profit reflects the ongoing [Covid] impacts that we experienced.

"The result is a credit to a continued concentrated focus on operational cost management and reflects the difficult ongoing market conditions that we are operating in across our diversified global operations."

Internationally, all locations experienced a year of "constantly changing and varying restriction levels" which resulted in reduced capacity and visitation, and required "considerable operational agility", she said.

While revenue was up on the prior year by $15.5 million, to $117.5 million, it was still "significantly down" on pre-Covid levels - $196 million in 2020.

Ms Hunt said that was attributed to the ongoing impact of Covid, including Auckland’s 15-week lockdown last year and tightened restrictions following this year’s Omicron outbreak.

While the board was encouraged by the gradual easing of restrictions and the resumption of international travel across the company’s key markets, "without doubt, it will take a number of years to return to [pre-Covid] visitation numbers".

"While holding a level of optimism moving forward, the Skyline board has decided to remain cautious until we see the realisation of returned international travel, meaning that the payment of the traditional year-end dividend is inappropriate at this time.

"Instead, we will commit to consideration of an interim dividend once travel has resumed and visitation levels increase."

Ms Hunt said the company felt "positive" but also "slightly tentative" in light of Covid’s impacts to date, and the potential for another variant to cause more disruption to business as usual.

She said the board was being "prudent" by holding back on a dividend payment for now, but would "look at it again later in the financial year".

Skyline’s annual meeting is scheduled for September 24.



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