Silly me. I made an embarrassing blunder yesterday in accusing The Age of publishing a one-month old story about PBL pulling out of the running to build a casino in Singapore.

As it turns out, Colin Kruger’s story
was indeed written this week, but it was about a second casino project
in Singapore. However, there wasn’t a lot of substance to the yarn, as
this follow-up by Christian Catalano in The Age today suggests.

Kruger
was reporting that PBL was pulling out of something that PBL said
yesterday they were never interested in in the first place. I was only
ever conscious of PBL bidding for the main Singapore casino project and
therefore went way over the top in unfairly attacking The Age yesterday. And for that – sorry!

Speaking
of casinos, James Packer really should sort out whether it is a private
family interest or something for the public company. Crown and Burswood
are owned by PBL and the joint venture with the Ho family’s Melco in
Asia is also being done through PBL. However, when it comes to the
string of casinos the Packers are pursuing in Britain, this is being
done in a joint venture between the private Packer companies and the
Aspinall family.

This issue will definitely be raised at the
2006 PBL AGM because each industry should be clearly one or the other,
not a combination. For instance, it would make no sense for PBL to
suddenly start buying up chemical assets, when this sector has arguably
been the largest commitment the Packer family companies have made over
the past 17 years.

Peter Fray

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Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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