Donaco announces its new CEO

by Mia Chapman Last Updated
Donaco doesn’t plan to sell properties despite financial challenges 

Donaco has provided an update on its search for its new chief executive officer.

Yahoo Finance reports the Australian casino operator has announced the appointment of Mr Lee Bug Huy as its new CEO, effective September 3.

Mr Huy will also remain on the company’s board as executive director.

His extensive gaming and casino management experience is headlined by the role of vice president at the Star Vegas Casino and Resorts casino.

He is also responsible for development the model for the company’s pokie machine business.

Two additional independent directors have also been appointed to the Donaco Board – Andrew Philips and Issaraya Intrapaiboon as two Australian-based non-executive directors.

Existing non-executive director Paul Porntat Amatavivadhana has been appointed non-executive chairman of Donaco.

Donaco’s largest business is the Star Vegas Resort and Club in Poipet, Cambodia, on the border with Thailand.

The property has more than 100 gaming tables, more than 1400 pokie machines and 385 hotel rooms.

Its flagship business is the Aristo International Hotel, a successful boutique casino in northern Vietnam, located on the border with Yunnan Province, China.

Established in 2002, the property has recently been expanded to a brand new five-star resort complex with 400 hotel rooms.

Donaco announces financial year results amid pandemic

Australian casino operator Donaco International posted a strong first half financial year result, however its full year results were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yahoo Finance reports Donaco International posted an EBITDA of A$13.8 million in the first half of the financial year, compared to A$12.9 million last year, on the back of improvements at both Aristo International Hotel and DNA Star Vegas.

The closure of both casinos for an extended period of time has had a material impact on Donaco’s operations.

FY20 revenue was A$53.49 million, compared to A$86.3 million last year.

Aristo in Vietnam has been allowed to open since May 8, and is operating on a limited basis from time-to-time, as the border with China, where most of its patrons originate from is currently closed.

Aristo will continue to adapt to border changes with local management having the discretion to tailor operations to local conditions.

Star Vegas in Cambodia is anticipated to remain mostly closed, as the border with Thailand, where most of the casino’s patrons originate from is currently closed as well.

Local management will also have discretion to tailor operations to local conditions.

The two casinos are ready to ramp up to higher patron capacity when the situation ameliorates which will likely occur when borders reopen, and once cross border travel flows recommence.

As a result, Donaco has proactively implemented cost control strategies at both casinos, maintaining a monthly cash burn of approximately US$800,000 to US$900,000 while the operations are at limited operating capacity.

Donaco recorded a statutory net loss after tax of A$58.95 million in FY20, a 70 per cent improvement on the prior corresponding period.

FY19’s result was primarily due to non-cash impairment charge of the Star Vegas casino licence following from COVID-19 related reduction in earning capacity.

In March 2020, all legal matters relating to the Thai Vendors were resolved in an outcome that provides a stable platform for business continuity and long-term growth at Star Vegas.

During the year, Donaco was also pleased to receive support from its principal lender Mega Bank with the deferral of all principal payments and waiver granted on all June covenants to December 2020.

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