Joey Lim Keong Yew, chief executive and managing director of Asian boutique casino operator Donaco International Ltd, told the firm’s shareholders he was “optimistic” about the business prospects for its Star Vegas Resort and Club (pictured) in Cambodia
“We are optimistic about the prospect for further growth at… Star Vegas from leveraging our Manchester United relationship, VIP promotions and our recent expansion into the neighbouring Star Paradise property,” said Mr Lim, who is a member of Malaysia’s famous casino entrepreneur clan of the same name.
He was speaking at the annual general meeting of Australia-listed Donaco, held in Sydney, New South Wales on Thursday.
Donaco has said that the acquisition of Star Vegas –located in Poipet, Cambodia, on the latter country’s border with Thailand – for a consideration of US$360 million in July 2015 – had resulted in a sevenfold increase in group revenues during financial year 2016, ending June 30.
Donaco started operations with a single casino property called the Aristo International Hotel in Lao Cai, near Vietnam’s border with Yunnan province in China. The venue largely serves Chinese customers.
In September Donaco said it had commenced managing – for a monthly fee – gaming operations at Star Paradise, a property neighbouring Star Vegas in Cambodia.
In August 2015 Donaco had announced an exclusive sponsorship agreement with English soccer club Manchester United, a team popular in Thailand, a country where casino gambling is illegal, and from where Star Vegas draws many customers.
“We are expecting… Star Vegas to improve during the remainder of the 2017 financial year, as we implement further marketing initiatives including additional tournaments for VIP players, and leveraging off our status as the ‘Official Resort Partner’ of Manchester United in Thailand to increase mass-market visitation,” said Mr Lim.
In August, Donaco reported net profit attributable to shareholders amounting to AUD77.2 million (US$57.4 million) for the 12 months to June 30. In the prior year, the firm recorded a AUD2.9-million net loss.
Mr Lim noted in his comments to investors at Thursday’s annual meeting: “Looking beyond the 2017 financial year, we have commenced discussions with our Thai partner [the vendor of Star Vegas] regarding the ongoing management of… Star Vegas into the 2018 financial year and beyond.” According to the acquisition deal, the Thai partner would manage the Star Vegas property for two years following completion of the deal.
He added: “While these arrangements have not yet been finalised, they will be commercially-based and reflective of senior executive remuneration packages. The current arrangements, for two annual management fee payments, were part of the original purchase deal for… Star Vegas, and include the US$$60-million EBITDA [earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation] guarantee from the vendor for both the 2016 and 2017 financial years.”
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