Donaco International Ltd, an Australia-listed boutique operator of casinos in Indochina, has announced it is closing “most” of its Star Vegas Hotel (pictured in a file photo). The property is located near Cambodia’s Poipet border with Thailand.
Donaco’s Tuesday announcement did not elaborate on the impact of the measure on its gaming operations at Star Vegas.
Star Vegas will operate “with only minimal operations ongoing with a constant daily revision,” said Donaco in a filing to the Australian Securities Exchange.
The firm explained its decision to scale back operations at Star Vegas followed an announcement by the Thai authorities on Monday, stating the border crossing from Thailand into Cambodia via Poipet had been closed for 14 days with a potential reopen on April 5. The goal was to control the further spread of the Covid-19 virus in Thailand.
Thailand is a major feeder market of clients to Star Vegas.
Donaco said that Star Vegas had welcomed a total of 53,463 players during the first 22 days of March, averaging approximately 2,430 players per day. The figure was down by 15 percent compared to the same period of February.
Rolling chip turnover in the first 22 days of March however increased by approximately 9 percent from the same period in February. The increase was from THB1.42 billion (US$43.3 million) to THB1.55 billion, said Donaco.
The firm stated that, “in response to the slowdown in the business, Star Vegas management has arranged unpaid leave for many staff members in March and April, as well as reducing total headcount, and deferring various capital expenditure projects.”
Donaco also briefly discussed on Tuesday’s filing business performance at its Aristo International Hotel and associated casino, near Vietnam’s border with China.
“The Aristo Hotel in Vietnam has seen decreased numbers, however management has been reviewing this closely and ensuring all non-essential staff and expenditure has been placed on hold until further notice,” it said.
In February, Donaco had already announced lay-offs and unpaid leave for staff at Aristo Hotel, due to the negative impact of the novel coronavirus.
Donaco chairman Mel Ashton was quoted in Tuesday’s filing as saying the board and management of Donaco were “closely monitoring” the overall impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on business.
He added: “We are taking pro-active measures to ensure a safe operating environment, as well as controlling expenditure.”
Donaco said last month it was looking for financing to help support the firm’s payment obligations and working capital needs, following the negative impact on business caused by the Covid-19 virus outbreak.
Donaco reported in February a net loss after tax of AUD1.5 million (US$985,000) for the six months ended December 31, compared to a net loss after tax of AUD36.8 million in the prior-year period. Last year’s results included a US$4.0 million non-cash impairment charge on the value of the Star Vegas casino licence related to a online gaming license cancellation, the firm said at the time.
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