By Annette Shailer

Gaming machine supplier Aristocrat Leisure discussed the possible difficulties of the year ahead, as the continued strength of the Australian dollar may impact the company's profits in calendar year 2010.

Aristocrat CEO, Jamie Odell, told shareholders at the company's annual general meeting in Sydney on Wednesday (Apr 28) that even small dollar movements can have significant consequences on the company’s 2010 net profit.

"A one-cent movement in the Australian dollar impacts our bottom line by around $1.3 million,” he said.

"We expect the translational impact of FX (foreign exchange) will be seen predominantly in the first half. We therefore anticipate overall performance for 2010 will be weighted towards the second half of the year."

Odell said that in Australia, Aristocrat would focus on two key areas of work, significantly improving their games portfolio and building a world-class sales marketing operation.

“Our progress is broadly in line with our expectations at this early point,” he said.

“We remain confident that the extensive changes we are driving through the Australian business will rebuild performance on a sustainable basis within our three-five year strategic horizon.”

Outgoing chairman, David Simpson, who announced in March he would step down later in the year, said that despite the challenges ahead he believed Aristocrat had a clear strategy and path to convert their assets into sustainable growth.

“For my own part, the opportunity to lead the Aristocrat Board over the past six years has been a privilege and I thank my Board colleagues and the dedicated management team and staff of Aristocrat for making it so,” he said.

“While we have a number of challenges ahead of us, I believe we now have in place the critical building blocks necessary for Aristocrat to succeed and reclaim our mantle as the world’s leading gaming supplier.”

In February, Aristocrat booked a net loss of $157.84 million for calendar 2009.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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