Boutique Asian casino operator Donaco International Ltd says the arbitration process in Singapore against former owners of the Star Vegas Resort and Club (pictured) business in Poipet, Cambodia, has been delayed “for another four months”.
“As previously announced to the market, an oral evidentiary hearing of this matter was held over the two-week period commencing 29 July 2019,” the company said in a Wednesday filing.
“The hearing was not completed, and a further hearing period of one week has been set down to commence on 25 November 2019,” Donaco told the Australian Securities Exchange.
Legal wrangling between Donaco and a trio of former Thai partners has been a constant for the past years. The three sold the Star Vegas in Poipet to Donaco for US$360 million in 2015. The agreement between the parties included a non-compete clause, which Donaco says has been breached. The parties have attempted a number of resolution methods, including proceedings in Cambodia, Singapore and Australia.
In the legal claim in the Singapore arbitration, Donaco is seeking damages of US$190 million from its former business partners.
Donaco reported a non-cash impairment charge of AUD143.9 million (US$97.7 million) in the value of the casino licence of its Star Vegas property in its fiscal year ended June 30, 2018. The company said the impairment was due to the alleged breaches of contract by the Thai vendors of the venue.
In Wednesday’s filing, Donaco said the Singapore arbitration proceedings were confidential, and as such the company was “not able to provide further details about the cause of the delay”.
The casino operator said that it had now been more than 18 months since it filed its arbitration claim in Singapore, noting that “these proceedings have taken longer than most arbitration claims in Singapore”.
“The company continues to press its claim forward with maximum efficiency and diligence,” stated the Australia-listed company.
Donaco, which also runs one casino in Vietnam, near the Chinese border, said on Tuesday it had appointed two new non-executive directors to its board. The company told the stock exchange that Leo Chan Yan Ho and Kurkye Wong were representatives of Argyle Street Management Ltd, an institutional investor.
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"With the mainlanders and Hong Kongers now effectively barred from entering Macau, the only rationale possible for keeping the casinos in Macau open right now is a social one which is to keep Macau residents employed"
Managing partner of IGamiX Management and Consulting Ltd