ASX-listed investment firm Perpetual has thrown its support behind the recent acquisition of a 19.99% stake in Australian casino operator Crown Resorts by its former Macau business partner Melco Resorts & Entertainment.
In an interview with the Australian Financial Review this week, Perpetual fund manager Garry Laurence – whose company holds shares in both Melco and Crown – revealed he was pleased to see the two coming together again due to the considerable opportunities it presents.
“We always liked Crown’s exposure to Macau through Melco,” he said. “And we’ve always respected Lawrence Ho’s ability to manage casinos and also new builds.”
Asked about what benefits Melco would gain from entering the Australian domestic market – with Crown currently operating properties in Melbourne and Perth and set to launch its US$2.2 billion Crown Sydney at Barangaroo, Laurence said, “I think the opening of Barangaroo will really create a huge opportunity for Crown.
“We think Lawrence Ho sees that and wants to diversify the group to a mix of growth in Macau, but also with some more stable assets in Australia.”
Laurence’s comments come with shares in Melco Resorts having risen 25.4% to US$23.59 and in parent company Melco Development Ltd by 29.6% to HK$19.92 since the start of June, buoyed by the Crown acquisition and a recent easing of US-China trade tensions.