20 Matt Bekier
CHIEF EXECUTIVE AND MANAGING DIRECTOR
Star Entertainment Group
CLAIMS TO FAME
• Has turned around Australia’s second-largest casino company
• Has led significant investment into Star’s Sydney and Gold Coast properties plus the AU$3 billion Queen’s Wharf development in Brisbane
POWER SCORE 1,154 LAST YEAR 23
It’s ironic that, having spent the best part of two years eating into rival Crown Resorts’ dominance of the Australian casino market, it was the indiscretions of Crown itself in mainland China last year – with 19 staff arrested for promoting its VIP gaming business – that finally slowed Star Entertainment Group’s considerable momentum. Inadvertently tangled in the same web, Star saw its normalized international VIP revenue fall 18.6% for the full year ended 30 June 2017 to AU$554.7 million, with normalized profit down 11.1% as a result to AU$214.5 million.
Yet it’s hard to ignore the fact that Australia’s second biggest casino operator is still very much on the way up in the long term. The company’s big ticket item – its AU$3 billion Queen’s Wharf development being built in Brisbane with partners Far East Consortium and Chow Tai Fook Enterprises – broke ground this year and is expected to attract an extra 1.39 million visitors to the Queensland capital upon completion in 2022.
An hour south, The Star Gold Coast is already halfway through an AU$850 million transformation that has seen 596 existing hotel rooms refurbished and a luxury suite hotel incorporating VIP gaming nearing completion. The company was also granted approval earlier this year to build another 53-storey tower nearby boasting 423 residential apartments and 300 hotel rooms.
Flagship property The Star Sydney isn’t escaping untouched either, with another AU$1 billion being pumped in. Crucially, the investment will include a new AU$500 million, six-star, 220 room Ritz-Carlton – just the second five-star-plus hotel built in Sydney since the 2000 Olympics (the first being The Darling, also at The Star).
As for Bekier, it’s worth noting that Star Entertainment Group recently vested a total of 461,198 performance rights granted to executives in 2014 due to the company achieving all its performance hurdles as part of an ongoing five-year plan. The CEO was the beneficiary of 196,850 of those performance rights.
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