Donaco International settles Star Vegas Casino Dispute

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Australian casino operator Donaco International has confirmed the conclusion of its dispute with Cambodia’s Star Vegas Casino.

Yahoo Finance reports the dispute, originally announced on March 3, 2020, has concluded.

The accounts for the six months ending December 31, 2020, will fully reflect the positive outcome in accordance with the terms of the settlement, the report said.

In addition, as detailed on December 18, 2020, the business has continued to improve to a positive EBITDA as impacts from coronavirus have moderated from earlier extreme levels.

The company’s debt has been reduced significantly and a solid platform for growth is now emerging, it said.

Donaco’s largest business, Poipet’s Star Vegas Casino and Resort, on the Thai-Cambodia border, was established in 1999 and is the largest and highest quality of the Poipet hotel-casinos.

The property has more than 100 gaming tables, more than 1400 pokie machines and 385 hotel rooms.

Donaco’s flagship business is the Aristo International Hotel, a successful boutique casino in northern Vietnam, located on the border with Yunnan Province, China.

Established in 2002, the property has recently been expanded to a brand new five-star resort complex with 400 hotel rooms.

Donaco owns a 95 per cent interest in the business, in a joint venture with the Vietnamese government.

Donaco settles case with Star Vegas casino

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Photo by Scott Graham

Australian-headquartered casino operator Donaco International has gained approval from a key lender to settle the casino firm’s legal cases with third parties, including its Cambodian casino venue.

GGR Asia reported in December that an outstanding debt of US$7.8 million payable to Mega Bank was a “notable reduction from the initially borrowed amount of US$100 million and the company is on track to repay all the remaining debt in financial year 2021,” Donaco said in a filing to the Australian Stock Exchange.

The approval by Mega Bank was in relation to the “successful settlement of all legal cases with the Thai-vendor” parties regarding Star Vegas and was “part of the provisions of a facility agreement with the lender,” Donaco noted.

“Donaco is extremely pleased to secure this approval as the company continues to work with Mega Bank and pay down the debt facility under the agreement,” it said.

The firm further noted that interest cover and debt ratio covenants were “not required to be tested” as of December 31 and would only be tested as of June 30, 2021, the end of the current financial year.

The casino operator said in a March filing it was awaiting agreement from Mega Bank on the settlement of a longstanding dispute with the Thai vendors of Star Vegas, a property in Poipet on Cambodia’s border with Thailand, a country where casino venues are not permitted.

In a June filing, Donaco stated Mega Bank had “agreed to that deferral” until December 31, of a US$5 million payment owed to it on the principle of its loan to Donaco.

In early April, a time when Star Vegas and Donaco’s other Asian casino hotel, Aristo International in Lao Cai on Vietnam’s border with China, were both closed as a COVID-19 countermeasure, Donaco said it expected a “cash burn run rate” of between US$800,000 and US$900,000 per month.

Aristo International reopened casino operators in mid-May, with the Star Vegas implementing a limited reopening from September 25.

On September 1, Donaco said in a filing it had significantly narrowed its fiscal year loss as of June 30 this year, to just above A$58.9 million from A$198 million a year earlier, even though the second half of the reporting period was affected by COVID-19.

On December 18, Donaco said it had returned to positive earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation in October and November.

William Brown

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