US fund manager BlackRock takes 5% stake in SkyCity

US fund manager BlackRock, which manages more than US$4.1 trillion in assets worldwide, has built up a 5 percent stake in trans-Tasman casino and hotel operator SkyCity Entertainment Group.

BlackRock Investment Management (Australia) declared the shareholding in SkyCity today, with almost 29.1 million shares, or 5.01 percent of the company, making the third fund manager to build a substantial investment in the Auckland-based company after fund managers Lazard Asset Management Pacific and Investors Mutual made similar announcements in August last year.

The fund manager built up the stake from September, paying between $4 and $4.71 a share, according to a substantial shareholder notice.

SkyCity shares fell 0.5 percent to $3.83 today, and have gained 4.3 percent this year. The stock is rated an average 'hold' based on 10 analyst recommendations compiled by Reuters, with a median target price of $$4.15.

Last month, SkyCity warned its first-half profit would fall to between $65 million and $68 million as a strong New Zealand dollar versus its Australian counterpart weighed on earnings, due to its Darwin and Adelaide casinos. The company is expected to release its first-half earnings on Feb. 12.

(BusinessDesk)

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