Tuesday 26 September 2017

The Punt: Wynn casino gig proves sure bet for Coughlan

The Wynn Macau casino resort, owned by Wynn Resorts Ltd, right, and the Grand Lisboa casino, owned by SJM Holdings Ltd., center, stand in Macau, China
The Wynn Macau casino resort, owned by Wynn Resorts Ltd, right, and the Grand Lisboa casino, owned by SJM Holdings Ltd., center, stand in Macau, China

Irishman Ian Coughlan (54), who trained at the famous Shannon College of Hotel Management, is responsible for running the Wynn casino resort on the island of Macau, pictured.

It's the only part of China where gambling is legal. The former Portuguese colony is brimming with casino operators. Last week, Wynn Macau reported better than expected first quarter results.

Net profit rose 10pc to $275m, while net revenue rose 14pc to $1.1bn (€789m). Of that, $1.07bn was generated by the casino operation itself, $4.1m from rooms, and $6.8m from food and beverages.

The amount of money bet by gamblers soared in the quarter. Turnover from VIPs –who each typically bet more than $1m on each visit to Macau – rose 27pc in the quarter at the Wynn Resort to a staggering $36bn (€25.8bn).

Wynn Macau is currently building an additional casino resort on the island, at a cost of $4bn (€2.8bn). Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn described Macau last week as becoming the "most exciting place to visit on the planet".

Mr Coughlan is well looked after in Macau. Last year he was paid a total of HK$23.6m (€2.1m), which included a basic salary of HK$6.5m and a bonus of HK$13.1m (€1.2m). That would surely get you a seat at the card game.

Major task ahead for former Superquinn chief

Former Superquinn boss Simon Burke has navigated his way back to the supermarket business. He's joined Britain's diverse Co-operative Group as a non-executive director of its food division.

His appointment comes as the embattled company, which lost £2.5bn (€3bn) last year, was the subject of a scathing report yesterday which called for urgent reforms to the group.

A native of Dublin, Mr Burke had a successful career with the Virgin entertainment group and also as the head of Hamley's in the UK before becoming executive chairman of Superquinn.

He held a small stake in the chain, coming on board when it was bought from the Quinn family in 2005 for €420m. But as the business continued to struggle, Mr Burke eventually departed.

Superquinn was bought in 2011 from receivers by Musgrave. Mr Burke has had stints on the boards of UK pub group Mitchells & Butlers (he was there as non-executive chairman but left five months later amid speculation that he was frustrated about not being able to implement the type of strategy he believed in), and Majestic Wine.

He was also the chairman of Hobbycraft until recently and was chairman of AIM-listed Eagle Eye. His latest role will certainly be a challenging one as Co-op faces major upheaval.

Old school tie added up to accountancy

The Punt hears that security software company AVG has appointed Blackrock College boy Ronan Dunne to the company's supervisory board.

The Irish chief executive of Telefonica UK (O2) will join AVG as an independent director. He already serves as a member of Telefonica's executive committee and as a non-executive director of the Guardian Media Group where his LinkedIn page says he is "helping to bring the digital opportunity to life at the home of liberal journalism".

It's been a fast journey for Mr Dunne who joined O2 in 2001 after working for the Banque Nationale de Paris, Exel and Waste Management International.

Dunne says he was a bit of a geek as a child, reading the 'Financial Times' and managing his own small share portfolio. He also told Chartered Accountancy Worldwide that he was saved from law when the president of Blackrock College's past pupils union asked teachers to introduce him to talented pupils who might be interested in accountancy. The introduction was made and the rest is history. You can't beat the old school tie.

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