Hotels

Crown to continue construction of $2.2bn Barangaroo property

Crown has revealed it will continue construction on its multi-billion-dollar Crown Sydney Hotel Resort in Barangaroo.

The company appears to be weathering the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic better than most, with news it had secured additional funding to support the build.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, Crown revealed it intends to continue construction of its $2.2 billion Crown Sydney project after agreeing to terms for a $450 million project finance facility with “three relationship banks”.

The facility remains subject to final credit approvals and long-form documentation; however, absent any further delays arising from the impact of COVID-19, the Crown Sydney Hotel Resort remains on track for completion by the end of the year, Crown said.

The project cost remains unchanged, with the gross project thought to amount to approximately $2.2 billion, with its net project cost expected to be approximately $1.4 billion.

According to Crown, the company’s current cash balance sits at approximately $500 million, with the ability to secure over $1 billion in additional debt facilities.

Crown Towers Sydney: Harbour Bridge King Room (Crown)

Crown CEO and managing director Ken Barton said: “As a result of [the] announcement, Crown is well placed to withstand an extended period of closure.”

Currently, there are more than 1,300 people employed on the construction of Crown Sydney, which the company expects to be maintained until completion.

In the lead-up to the full opening of Crown Sydney, Crown hopes to recruit over 2,000 people to work at the hotel.

Scale of job cuts revealed

It comes as the company revealed around 95 per cent or over 11,500 of its employees had been stood down, following the “cessation of gaming activities and other non-essential services” at Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth late last month.

According to Crown Resorts’ website, the company employs approximately 18,500 people across 700 different roles, with changes to operations expected to reduce its underlying costs to between $20 to $30 million per month.

To support employees during this period, Crown said it had agreed to provide an ex gratia payment of two weeks’ pay to full- and part-time employees who have been stood down (other than senior management), and a lump sum payment of $1,000 to eligible casual workers.

Employees will also be able to draw down on existing annual and long-service leave entitlements in a “range of flexible manners”, Crown said.

Barton, along with certain other senior management, have taken a 20 per cent reduction in fixed remuneration until 30 June 2020.

The company’s chair and non-executive director fees have also been reduced by 20 per cent until 30 June 2020.

Barton said Crown had registered for the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper payment, and is currently working through the implementation of this scheme.

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