Boutique Asian casino operator Donaco International Ltd says it is been able to rejig a term loan with Mega International Commercial Bank Co Ltd of Taiwan. But in a Monday filing to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) the company said it expected to make a statutory net loss in its current financial year, adding that no dividends or buybacks would be permitted in its next financial year.
Donaco’s financial year runs from July 1, to June 30 of the following calendar year.
The agreement with Mega Bank included repaying some of the outstanding principal amount slightly early. As part of the deal, the bank has accepted that the exit from the hands of the Lim family – the Malaysian dynasty that founded the Genting casino brand – of a significant stake in Donaco, did not amount to a change of control for the company.
Donaco runs a casino in Vietnam serving mostly Chinese customers, and one in Poipet, Cambodia, that has served mostly customers from neighbouring Thailand. Casinos are illegal in both Thailand and the Chinese mainland.
Donaco told the ASX on Monday that Donaco and Mega Bank had stuck deals to refinance and restructure Donaco’s term loan facility with the institution.
Mega Bank offered a US$100-million loan facility to Donaco in 2015. Donaco secured the Mega Bank loan against the assets of its Star Vegas Resort and Club in Cambodia. The business later encountered problems linked to a dispute with three Thais that had sold the venue to Donaco. Nonetheless, by late 2018, all but about US$39.9 million of the Mega Bank loan owed by Donaco had been repaid, according to a previous company announcement.
Under the fresh arrangements, Mega Bank will refrain from treating a recent situation – that saw the appointment of receivers to handle shares in the company once held by members of the Lim family – as amounting to a change of control in the company.
Joey Lim Keong Yew is a former a managing director and chief executive of Donaco, holding those posts until March 19 when his employment was terminated “with immediate effect”. Until June 11, his brother, Ben Lim Keong Hoe, had been acting chief executive. The firm appointed a new CEO with effect from June 12.
Donaco told the ASX in March that 27.25 percent of its stock previously controlled by members of the Lim family was in the hands of receivers. The company said the change might disrupt its borrowing from Mega Bank because the transfer amounted to a change of control of the company.
The casino firm informed the bourse on Monday that the deals to refinance and restructure its term loan facility entailed it repaying early US$8.55 million of the principal – an amount that had been due in August. That would reduce the outstanding amount of the principal to US$22.8 million. the firm will then repay US$5 million in December, US$5 million next June, US$5 million in December next year and US$7.8 million in June 2021.
Donaco has promised that the earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of Donaco Hong Kong Ltd, which holds the assets of the Cambodian casino, will be at least four times the consolidated finance charges in the current financial year and at least six times the consolidated finance charges in the next financial year.
Donaco has also promised to have cash holdings of at least AUD15 million (US$10.43 million) in December; AUD20 million in June next year; and AUD20 million in December 2020.
The deals entail no change in the restrictions on dividends and buybacks.
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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