Sunday, September 20, 2015

Ig Nobel 2015

The annual Ig Nobel Awards is always a favourite and this year some Australian scientists have excelled themselves with the chemistry prize for developing a process to un-boil an egg. However I think the overall winner this year should go to the biology prize:
BIOLOGY PRIZE  — Bruno Grossi, Omar Larach, Mauricio Canals, Rodrigo A. Vásquez [CHILE], José Iriarte-Díaz [CHILE, USA], for observing that when you attach a weighted stick to the rear end of a chicken, the chicken then walks in a manner similar to that in which dinosaurs are thought to have walked.

The 2015 Ig Nobel Prize Winners

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Great moments in real estate spruiking on Twitter

Michael Matusik @MichaelMatusik 18 minutes ago
We estimate that Gladstone’s new housing market is now slightly undersupplied by about 5% >
 
 
Michael Matusik @MichaelMatusik 1 hour ago
There are currently 2.2k dwellings for sale in equating to a 22 month supply more >
 
 
What more can I say?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Positive data on international visitors

The latest International Visitor Survey from Tourism Research Australia provides further support for stronger international tourism in the year to June 2015. Commentary as posted at Conus: Great International Visitor Data for the Far North
In TNQ visitors were up a stellar 9.8% on the year to 759,000; a level not seen since Sept 2008. Average expenditure per visitor was up strongly (+7.6%) to $1,318. Clearly TNQ has benefited from the surge in Chinese visitors which rose by 16.1% over the year and accounted for 21.8% of all international visitors to the region (up from 20.6% a year ago). But it’s not just the Chinese; over the year visitors from the US are up 12.8% and the UK up 13.6%. As is the case for the state as a whole, TNQ has seen a dramatic decline in market share in the past decade but we are starting to see some (slow) recovery. TNQ’s share of the total Australian international market now stands at 11.6%; this is an increase from 11.2% a year ago but is still well down from the heady heights of 17% ten years ago.
The ongoing recovery in international at Cairns Airport was supported in July by a very strong month also at the main gateway through Sydney Airport.
July’s international result was driven by higher average load factors (2.8 percentage points) and capacity increases. Inbound nationalities were 9.1% higher due primarily to growth from Chinese (+13.3%), Indonesian (+34.6%), Indian (15.2%) and US (12.8%) nationals. Australian outbound grew 3.3% as a result of school holidays and increased seat supply, particularly to the USA, UAE, Philippines and Singapore.

Hopefully the current market turmoil and uncertainty around the Chinese economy wont impact these trends much.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Aquis: drum beats from the circus tent

Despite no apparent real news the past week has seen further drum beating on Aquis at the Cairns Post:
Developer Tony Fung has listed his Aquis Entertainment company on the Australian Securities Exchange and last week announced a $330 million upgrade of the Canberra casino he paid $6 million for last year.

Old mate Nick Dalton reported this $330 million announcement last week. Actual real Aquis announcement to ASX in full which only came yesterday afternoon:

31 August 2015
Aquis Entertainment Limited (ASX: AQS) is pleased to announce that it has now successfully lodged with Invest Canberra its confidential proposal for a significant redevelopment of the Casino Canberra site. This is part of an ongoing dialogue with the ACT Government in relation to the future growth plans of Canberra Casino.

Curiously, I can't find that this, or the $330 million, has yet been reported anywhere else except Cairns? Not even in Canberra? It wasn't even flagged to ASX as price sensitive. The intention to submit a redevelopment proposal was included in the recent prospectus but with no information on cost or how it would be funded. The balance sheet for the newly listed entity has net assets of just $18 million which is not going to fund a $330 million redevelopment absent further capital.

As part of the backdoor listing a few million in further capital was raised via the prospectus at 20c / share. The offer had to be extended twice. With Fung holding almost 90% of shares market liquidity in AQS is going to be very low and the few trades since listing have been below 20c.

Ordinarily an ASX listed entity should have now posted half yearly results. Presumably this is waived and not feasible for AQS given the circumstances and time constraints? Consequently there doesn't appear to have been any trading update for the casino since the accounts for the year to December 2014 were lodged with ASIC in March?

An interesting aspect of the 2014 accounts is an apparent turnaround to profit for the Canberra Casino. However it turns out this is due to debt forgiveness by Casinos Austria of a $6.7 million loan which was booked to revenue. So having been paid only $6 million and then writing off a $6.7 million loan Casinos Austria have virtually paid Fung to take it away. Revenue for the 2014 year was down 10% on the previous year.