The Tiger Palace Resort Bhairahawa casino venue (pictured) in Nepal is “approaching monthly break-even,” which is “expected during the third quarter” this year, said Australia-listed boutique casino operator Silver Heritage Group Ltd. The company provided the information in a business update following its annual general meeting on Friday.
Silver Heritage launched the Nepal property – its first purpose-built and majority-controlled venue, near the border with the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh – at the end of the third quarter last year, and received its casino operating licence in late December.
The firm also outlined in a fresh business update that it had reached an agreement with Rajendra Bajgain, formerly a minority local partner for Tiger Palace Resort Bhairahawa. Earlier this year, Silver Heritage reported it was involved in litigation with Mr Bajgain but was seeking a non-court solution to the issues.
The group additionally reported that it had reached agreement with a Nepal consortium for co-ownership of land for a possible additional Nepal resort referred to as “Tiger Palace Resort Jhapa”. Jhapa is a district of eastern Nepal, near the country’s border with the Indian states of Bihar and of Sikkim, and a relatively short distance from India’s contiguous border with Bangladesh. The firm had flagged in a September business update its interest in having a new Nepal resort.
The boutique casino operator also runs the Millionaire’s Club and Casino in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, and the Phoenix International Club, near Hanoi, in Vietnam.
Commenting on the group’s overall performance so far in the current quarter, Silver Heritage’s chief executive Mike Bolsover told shareholders in prepared remarks on Friday: “The first seven weeks of trading in the second quarter 2018 have been much stronger than the first quarter 2018, following a challenging first 90 days in the year at the mature properties of Phoenix [International Club] in Vietnam and The Millionaires Club [and Casino] in Kathmandu, Nepal, and during the initial ramp up at Tiger Palace.”
The CEO reiterated information from the group’s first-quarter earnings statement in late April; namely that first-quarter total adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) had been “negative US$1,943,000, with US$1,809,000 of this being cash drag from the ramp up at Tiger Palace, though April 2018 was a positive month of operating cash flow at group level.
Mr Bolsover further stated: “We have also had a strong May to date, particularly in Vietnam and in Kathmandu.”
At Friday’s annual meeting, the group’s interim chairman Matthew Hunter said the firm had been “working through” some “transitional issues”.
He stated in prepared remarks: “It is clear that the relationship with our local partner in Nepal has run its course. Several high quality parties have expressed interest in partnering with us in Nepal. The company is actively engaged in discussions in this regard and will update the market as and when further progress has been made on this.”
The interim chairman described them as “the two remaining non-executive directors from the time of the company’s initial public offering” but gave no detail on the circumstances of their respective exits.
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"Our main focus is just making sure – and particularly within Australia – to the maximum extent possible, that we can have uniformity [among different jurisdictions]"
Chief executive of the Australia-based Gaming Technologies Association