Workers of Tiger Palace Resort, the Nepal integrated resort owned by Australian-listed Silver Heritage Group, are claiming that the contracts of around 400 staff have been terminated due to the company’s ongoing financial woes.
According to a report in the Kathmandu Post, workers have this week protested outside Tiger Palace after receiving an email on 9 September informing them that their two-year contracts have been terminated and would not be renewed. Silver Heritage operates two Nepal casinos, Tiger Palace and Kathmandu’s Millionaire’s Club, both of which have been closed since 23 March due to COVID-19.
The workers have also claimed that all employees from general manager level and below have been released, but that foreign employees have been retained.
In response to inquiries from Inside Asian Gaming, a representative of Silver Heritage Group said around 385 of the two-year contracts mentioned had in fact expired this year and that the employees have been offered the opportunity to leave or to sign a new contract.
Silver Heritage also “continued doing the right thing by paying staff even as contracts expired to get them through COVID and what we believed, and all the world hoped, would be a few months,” the representative said. “But it looks like we will be closed until 2021.”
The standoff comes after Silver Heritage was placed into voluntary administration in May by its main lender, OCP Asia.
Creditors last month agreed to consider a recapitalization proposal, subject to shareholder approval, with Silver Heritage revealing Wednesday that it has now executed a Deed of Company Arrangement that will see Hatch Australia Holdings Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Hatch Asia Inc, acquire 92% of the company’s shares in a deal worth AU$530,000.
It is not yet clear what Hatch Australia plans to do with its new ASX-listed entity, however it is expected that Silver Heritage’s casino assets will be turned over to its creditors.
Silver Heritage has faced multiple hurdles in recent years, including lengthy delays to the launch of Tiger Palace in December 2017 which blew the budget out by around US$12 million.
The company then suffered a crippling blow in March 2019 when casino operations at Phoenix International Club in Vietnam, where Silver Heritage provided gaming management services, were shut down due to amendments to the property’s Investment Certificate which no longer allowed for the operation of gaming tables.
Phoenix had accounted for around 45% of the company’s group-wide revenue in 2018.