Crown Resorts has stood down 11,500 of its employees because of the coronavirus restrictions affecting its casinos in Melbourne and Perth, but it still will pay shareholders their interim dividend.
The gaming company said it had made an ex gratia payment of two week’s salary to full-time and part-time workers and given $1000 to eligible casual workers.
Chief executive Ken Barton and other senior managers have also taken 20 per cent temporary pay cuts.
“We have taken the tough but necessary decision to stand down a large number of our employees,” Mr Barton said.
“I have a deep gratitude to our employees for their understanding and commitment during this painful and highly uncertain time. We are continuing to investigate ways in which we can support our employees on an ongoing basis.
“Crown welcomes the Commonwealth government’s JobKeeper scheme, which will be critical in keeping our business and our employees connected.”
The move comes weeks after the Star Entertainment Group, which operates casinos in Sydney, Brisbane and on the Gold Coast, also stood down 90 per cent of its staff.
Some 8100 workers were suspended following the closure of Star’s food, beverage, conferencing, and gaming facilities in late March.
Chairman John O’Neill called it “the most painful decision our senior management is ever likely to encounter”.
The Star said it had executed additional debt funding of $200 million, giving it $700 million in available cash and undrawn debt, enough to survive an extended shutdown.
Crown said it was in a strong financial position, with about $500 million in cash and the ability to borrow more than $1 billion.
It will pay its interim dividend on Friday.
At 1130 AEST on Thursday, Crown shares were down 0.24 per cent to $8.24.