Hong Kong-listed casino developer Imperial Pacific International Holdings Ltd has announced changes in senior positions on its board. Imperial Pacific told the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that executive director Cai Lingli had resigned from the board on Monday, had relinquished the chair of its executive committee and her position as authorised representative of the company.
The announcement says Ms Cai wanted to spend more time with her family and work on other business commitments, and had no disagreement with the board. In her place, another executive director, Xia Yuki Yu, has assumed the chair of the board and its executive committee and the position of authorised representative of the company.
Imperial Pacific said Ms Xia, 44, has been an executive director since November 2013 and a director of some subsidiaries of the company. She was described as having more than 15 years of experience in public relations and marketing, including executive positions in some gaming enterprises before joining Imperial Pacific. She is said to own about 0.27 percent of the company.
Imperial Pacific is currently building a casino resort on Saipan, an island in the Northern Mariana Islands group – a United States jurisdiction – that is about five hours’ flight from Hong Kong. The opening of the first phase of the Imperial Pacific Resort has been delayed six times the Saipan Tribune newspaper has reported.
In July, the news outlet said that a subsidiary of the company asked the island’s gaming regulator, the Commonwealth Casino Commission, to put back until December the deadline for completion of the first phase. It had been due to be completed this month.
The first stage is meant to include a four-star or five-star hotel containing 329 rooms, a gaming area of 14,140 square metres, villas, restaurants, shops and meeting space. In its annual report filed on April 27, the group said “approximately US$650 million” had already been invested in the “design, consulting, engineering, construction materials and labour costs” for the Saipan resort. The company’s annual profit narrowed by 31.9 percent to HKD637.5 million (US$81.2 million) last year.
Imperial Pacific International has said it is committed to building the Saipan casino resort. The company’s senior vice-president of operations Lu Hou Tsai told GGRAsia “this project will go through”. Mr Tsai told GGRAsia on the sidelines of the Japan Gaming Congress 2018 in Tokyo, that the company was working “diligently”.
The Saipan Tribune has reported that some workers were not paid last week. The company stated there was a partial delay for some workers but about 2,000 workers on the site had been paid. The government there is said to be hopeful of arranging a meeting with Imperial Pacific’s leaders to understand the circumstances of the delay.
Meanwhile, the group has begun court proceedings in Saipan to sue 13 customers that it says were provided with loans ranging from US$100,000 to US$6.2 million. Imperial Pacific says it is owed US$12.75 million.
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”We expect it [the first phase of casino resort Hoiana in Vietnam] to open in October, and by then basically 90 percent of the first-phase content will be launched – such as the golf course, and hotels”
Andrew Lo Kai Bong
Executive director of project investor Suncity Group