The Australian slot machine manufacturer Aristocrat has announced in its annual report a net profit of nearly US$135 million for the year ended December 31, 2004, as compared to the previous yearís loss of over US$82 million. International operations were largely credited with the transformation in company earnings, just as the 2003 slide into the red was caused by problems in Colombia.
Slot machine manufacturers such as Aristocrat Leisure and Ainsworth Game Technology have little room for expansion in the mature gaming market climate of Australia and New Zealand. Slot machine numbers are coming under increasing pressure from gambling legislators in local jurisdictions, so overseas markets are looking the best bet for the manufacturers. Aristocrat hold around 175 gaming licences globally and is carefully watching industry growth in the Asia Pacific region.
Sales in North America remain strong for the company but the Japanese market is declining owing to changes in regulations. The international divisions of Aristocrat contributed 70% of the companyís profits last year and the trend is expected to continue with an increasing focus on markets outside Australia and New Zealand. The Americas, Europe and Asia all provide opportunities for future growth, and Aristocrat is also looking at Africa and the United Kingdom.
With Macauís gambling revenues booming and set to overtake Las Vegas, and Singapore and Thailand exploring further ventures in gambling operations, Asia seems set to provide fertile ground for Aristocrat products. After the annual report was published today Aristocrat shares again closed higher, after a rise of over 500% since January 2004. (E-04.01.05)
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