Asian casino operator Donaco International Ltd is proposing a name change as part of what it hopes will be “a new beginning for the company.”
The Australian-listed Donaco is scheduled to hold its annual general meeting (AGM) on November 29 in Sydney. The company issued an AGM invitation to investors on Monday to come and offers thumbs up (or down) to a host of changes that will, according to the company, act as “a public statement that we are leaving the past behind.”
Among these changes is a proposed rebranding to Pan Asian Leisure Ltd, which Donaco hopes will allow it to shed the current narrative of dysfunction and discord. Donaco acknowledged Monday that its financial performance over the past two fiscal years “has been unacceptable,” as has the ‘steep’ decline in Donaco’s share price.
This year has already seen Donaco appoint a new CEO (Paul Arbuckle) and give the boot to the Lim brothers, the Genting scions who founded the company but were viewed as largely responsible for the chaos that has plagued the company’s flagship casino Star Vegas in Poipet, Cambodia.
For years now, Donaco has been snared in a legal entanglement with a Thai company that was tasked with running gaming operations at Star Vegas and its adjoining Star Paradise gaming hall. That legal fight, which is currently undergoing arbitration proceedings in Singapore, has grown to threaten the lease on the property on which Star Vegas sits.
Donaco emphasized that its current chairman Stuart McGregor and exec director Ben Reichel have suffered along with rank-and-file shareholders, with each man said to have lost US$180k on their company holdings as this legal dispute drags on. Reichel has also been hit with a criminal defamation proceeding by the Thai vendor, leaving him open to arrest should he be foolish enough to travel to Thailand.
Last week, Donaco issued a trading update for the three months ending September 30 that showed the company returning to growth after a long period of seemingly terminal decline. This growth was credited in part to cutting corporate costs, including remuneration to key management personnel, which was slashed by 48% in fiscal 2019 as part of management’s demonstration of its long-term commitment to the endeavor.