The Star Entertainment Group (ASX: SGR) has successfully completed a $750 million equity raise as part of a $1.2 billion refinancing deal with debt, but the casino and hotel operator’s challenges have led to trepidation from everyday investors.
Retail shareholders were entitled to buy up to $184 million worth of new shares in the group as part of the raise, but fewer than half took the opportunity.
“A total of approximately 6,700 valid applications for retail entitlements were received, for approximately $72 million, representing a take-up rate by eligible retail shareholders of approximately 39 per cent,” the company reported to the ASX today.
This means a shortfall of approximately 187 million new shares – worth $112.2 million – was allotted to sub-underwriters. The group has previously confirmed that the retail offer would be fully underwritten by Barrenjoey.
The capital raise was announced in September following an extensive evaluation to restructure finances that the company described as ‘no longer fit for purpose’ amid mounting debts due to separate investigations into The Star’s suitability to hold a casino licence in NSW and Queensland.
In other news at the company today, Jessica Mellor has been promoted from chief operating officer (COO) to chief executive officer (CEO) at The Star Gold Coast.
Mellor joined The Star in 2019 after more than five years in various roles at Aquis Entertainment - including two-and-a-half years as CEO - whose assets at the time included Casino Canberra.
"When I joined The Star in 2019, I was so grateful to be in a position to take on an amazing opportunity whilst also returning to my hometown," she says.
"This new role takes it to another level. For me the focus has always been on delivering amazing experiences for our guests and being part of the fabric of the Gold Coast community.
"There have been some testing times over the past four years, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic and the agility required to keep adapting day to day. But the Gold Coast is resilient, it’s innovative, and there is an extraordinary future ahead of our city and The Star can be such a significant contributor to that."
Mellor's appointment, pending regulatory approvals, is part of an organisational restructure that will see the creation of property-based operational business units in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Sydney.
Each of these property-based CEOs will report to group CEO Robbie Cooke, who has been leading The Star through continued turbulence since he joined in October last year.
"The organisational changes being implemented are designed to simplify our structure and provide clearer operational accountability at each of our Gold Coast, Brisbane and Sydney properties," Cooke says.
"The new structure will provide greater responsibility and decision-making power at a property level while maintaining appropriate oversight from the group level."
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