Donaco International Ltd, an operator of a casino resort in Cambodia and another in Vietnam, announced on Friday that one of its board members had chosen not to seek re-election.
The news came ahead of an annual general meeting that day, due to air a call by two shareholders to remove all the current directors and put those two stockholders and three people nominated by them in the seats instead.
At the time this story went online the result of the vote on the overall rejig of the board had not been filed with the Australian Securities Exchange.
The resignation of the retiring board member, Ben Reichel – who had been an executive director – had been accepted “with regret”, said Donaco chairman Stuart McGregor in a separate filing that day.
Mr Reichel will remain for now as an executive, in the roles of general counsel and company secretary, said the initial Friday filing to the bourse.
“We requested that he remain as an executive of the company for a transition period, due to his valuable skills and experience, and we are glad that he has agreed to do so,” Kurkye Wong, a non-executive director and representative of Argyle Street Management Ltd, was quoted as saying.
Mr Wong added that proxy votes cast on behalf of investors had been “running strongly in his favour” with regard to Mr Reichel staying on. “However we understand and respect his decision to step down from the board at the conclusion of today’s meeting,” he added. Argyle Street is Donaco’s largest single shareholder, according to the filing.
Mr McGregor, reiterated – in his opening remarks at the annual meeting – the board’s intent to change the group’s name to Pan Asian Leisure Ltd, “as a public statement that we are leaving the past behind”.
Donaco had said in a filing earlier this month that it had won the final stage of a particular court process in Cambodia linked to a long-running dispute over its Cambodia operation.
The overall dispute is with a Thai party that sold it the rights to run the Star Vegas Resort and Club in Poipet, a town on Cambodia’s border with Thailand.
The casino firm has also been pursuing legal remedies against the Thai party via processes in Singapore and Australia.
Paul Arbuckle, a former executive at Singapore casino resort Resorts World Sentosa, and who was appointed Donaco chief executive in June, said in his remarks to Friday’s annual meeting that performance at Star Vegas at the start of financial year 2020 had been “broadly in line with last year, although our October performance was weaker”, particularly due to a “lower VIP win rate” for the house versus the players.
There had also been some disruption from flooding in Poipet, and a “temporary tightening” of border controls with neighbouring Thailand, which had “now gone back to normal”, said the CEO.
He said the firm had a new deal with a “Chinese tour group operator” to bring in new players to Star Vegas.
The Aristo International Hotel, a casino venue near Vietnam’s border with China, had “continued its recent trend of improved performance,” stated Mr Arbuckle.
“We had another strong month in October,” which had contributed to a four-month tally of earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of US$4.2 million, which was “well ahead” of the prior year.
Donaco had “recently signed” a deal with a South Korean tour group that would organise golf tours via the Vietnam property during the winter months, said Mr Arbuckle.
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Kenneth Fong, Lok Kan Chan and Rebecca Law
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