Australia-listed casino operator Donaco International Ltd says an Australian court has lifted a freeze order on some of its shares held by Thai parties that sold the firm the rights to the Star Vegas Resort and Club casino venue in Poipet, Cambodia.
The freeze order by the Supreme Court of New South Wales had run until 5pm on May 1, after an earlier extension.
Thursday’s filing to the Australian Securities Exchange said that in return, the vendors had agreed to a “voluntary escrow” whereby they would not dispose of their close-to 148.2 million shares in Donaco – comprising an 18-percent stake in the firm – within a six-month period starting from March 2.
That was the date the firm made a settlement with Somboon Sukcharoenkraisri, Lee Bug Tong, Lee Bug Huy, Lee Hoe Property Co Ltd, Paramax Co Ltd and “related persons”.
Donaco had been in legal dispute for several years with the Thai former owners of Star Vegas. They sold the property to Donaco for US$360 million in 2015. The agreement between the parties included a non-compete clause, which Donaco had argued had been breached. The parties had attempted a number of resolution methods, including proceedings in several jurisdictions.
On March 2 Donaco told the Australian bourse that it had agreed to remove non-competition and non-solicitation clauses regarding Star Vegas, as part of a deal to end the multiple court cases and arbitration disputes.
On April 17, Donaco had said payments linked to the settlement were being deferred pending approval by a key lender to Donaco, Taiwan’s Mega International Commercial Bank Co Ltd.
Earlier that month, the casino firm had said the closure of Star Vegas and of its casino at Vietnam’s Aristo International Hotel – amid the Covid-19 pandemic- were costing it up to US$900,000 per month.
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