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Aristocrat Claims Woes Are Over

24 February 2004

AUSTRALIA – As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald: "Shares of Aristocrat Leisure rocketed nearly 20 per cent yesterday as the poker machine maker promised the worst of its troubles were behind it - despite halving its dividend and reporting a $106 million (US$82.69 million) loss for the year ending December 31.

"'The company has taken the necessary steps to ensure that the problems encountered through the year will not be repeated,' chief executive-designate Paul Oneile said.

" But the company faced questions over the announced retirement last week of Aristocrat chief operating officer David Creary, after revealing yesterday that it gave him a payout totalling $1.76 million.

" …But the issue did not influence matters yesterday, with Aristocrat shares jumping 39c to close at $2.39, their highest level since November last year, on turnover of 17.2 million shares.

" …Aristocrat's $106 million loss was driven by $160 million worth of write-downs…"

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