Australia-listed casino slot machine maker Aristocrat Leisure Ltd is to pay a dividend amounting to AUD95.6 million (US$73.9 million), equal to AUD0.15 per fully-paid ordinary share, for its first half ending March 31.
The dividend is for shareholders recorded as of May 31, with the payment date due on July 2.The information was given in a Monday filing to the Australian Securities Exchange.
Last week Aristocrat had flagged that its first-half normalised profit was AUD412 million, up by around 12 percent in year-on-year terms.
JP Morgan Securities Australia Ltd said in a Monday note, that the interim dividend was lower than its expectation of AUD0.26 per share, and lower than market consensus of AUD0.29 per share.
“Aristocrat Leisure is prioritising liquidity over debt reduction,” wrote analysts Donald Carducci and Abhinay Jeggannagari.
The slot maker had net debt of AUD1.33 billion as of March 31, a 40.9-percent improvement on the AUD2.25 billion recorded in the first quarter of 2020.
Aristocrat Leisure gave some breakdown in its detailed earnings issued on Monday on the performance of the Class III international segment for its slot machine business – including Asia Pacific.
Revenue in that segment was down 81.5 percent year-on-year, at AUD16.8 million, versus AUD90.6 million a year earlier.
The segment made a loss of AUD8.7 million, versus an AUD33.2 million profit in the same quarter a year earlier.
“The gaming businesses continued to be impacted by Covid-19 related venue closures and restrictions. International Class III markets remained effectively closed” during the reporting period, said the group in commentary.
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