Hong Kong-listed Imperial Pacific International (IPI) has denied any suggestion that it is struggling to pay its staff wages after a delay in the transfer of funds last week – but opponents of the company’s Saipan integrated resort have wasted no time in seizing the opportunity.
IPI issued a statement on Friday in which it promised to meet its financial obligations and asked for patience after it was revealed late last week that the company was experiencing payroll delays.
“Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC is issuing this statement to inform all stakeholders that Imperial Pacific has been experiencing transfer issues to fund the company’s payroll for the 17 August 2018 pay-period,” IPI said.
“Despite the issue, the company paid over 2,000 of hourly employees on time today, Friday. Salaried employees will be paid within the week.
“Imperial Pacific intends to meet our obligations and asks for the community’s continued support, patience and understanding.”
However, while IPI made the statement readily available to media, Inside Asian Gaming was also sent the same statement from an undisclosed source with the title, “Casino being built on island of Saipan is failing.” The timing of the email is notable given the upcoming CNMI elections in November.
Asked for comment, IPI told IAG it was “sad” to see people using the payroll situation to further their personal agenda, adding that “if this project is to fail, there are thousands of families that will have a negative impact to their livelihoods and no one should want that to happen.”
It’s been an eventful week for IPI with Chairman Marco Teng stepping down to pursue other interests less than seven months after taking over the role from Mark Brown.
The company also confirmed recently that it won’t make its 31 August deadline for completion of Imperial Pacific Resort, with early 2019 now looming as a more likely reality.