Australia-listed Asian casino operator Donaco International Ltd says it aims to offer regular half-yearly dividends to its investors. The news was given by its chairman, Stuart McGregor, in the firm’s 2017 annual report filed on Friday.
“We are pleased to announce our intention to move to regular six-monthly dividend payments, commencing with a dividend of AUD0.005 [US$ 0.0039] per share payable in October 2017,” said the chairman.
His commentary added that three other potential uses for the company’s capital were: “to support organic growth initiatives in our existing venues”; to “look for acquisitive growth opportunities in the region”; and to “apply surplus capital towards the buy-back of shares”.
Donaco reported its maiden dividend – for the 12 months to June 30, 2016 – in August that year.
The firm had announced on October 16 this year the implementation of an “on-market buy-back” for up to 41.5 million shares, to a maximum of 5 percent of its ordinary issued shares.
Donaco currently makes most of its gaming revenue by making use of Southeast Asia’s patchwork approach to casino legalisation. Its Vietnam venue Aristo International Hotel in Lao Cai, on Vietnam’s northern border with China, currently draws many players from the latter nation, where casino gambling is illegal except in Macau, a Chinese special administrative region.
Donaco’s main Cambodian venue, Star Vegas Resort and Club (pictured), in Poipet, draws many customers from neighbouring Thailand, where casinos are also banned. In both Vietnam and Cambodia, locals are currently barred from casino gambling.
For the 12 months to June 30, Donaco reported net profit after tax down nearly 60 percent year-on-year.
The firm said some of the tougher trading conditions related to the year-long official period of mourning in Thailand following the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej in October 2016, which had depressed demand from Thai players.
Mr McGregor noted: “As chairman of the group it was pleasing to see the share price recover to be up 40 percent over the financial year, despite the challenging economic conditions in Thailand, and we believe that by delivering strong financial management and earnings growth, shareholders will continue to be rewarded in future years.”
Joey Lim Keong Yew, Donaco’s managing director and chief executive, said in his commentary in the annual report: “We anticipate that the business will gain momentum in financial year 2018, with activity at Star Vegas expected to recover to normal levels following the first quarter.”
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”Ramp ups [of new Macau casinos] are taking a little bit longer. The market is somewhat volatile at the moment, but we continue to look at all the opportunities and are still very comfortable that things are starting to move ahead”
Chief executive of MGM China Holdings