The suspension of operations at its two Southeast Asian casinos saw Australian-listed Donaco International Limited fall to an EBITDA loss of AU$2.2 million in the six months to 31 December 2021.
With Star Vegas in Poipet, Cambodia closed for the entire duration and Aristo International in northern Vietnam only open on a limited basis, revenue for the period plummeted by 82% year-on-year to just over AU$1.1 million. However, Aristo had managed to achieve positive EBITDA of AU$200,000 during the first three months of the financial year after the company shifted its focus to targeting locally-based clientele.
Donaco said it had managed to slash operating expenses by half to around AU$2 million and corporate costs from AU$2 million to AU$1.3 million in order to navigate the pandemic.
“In the first half of the Financial Year, we continued to focus on preserving our balance sheet and operational capabilities, taking all the necessary actions to minimise the impact of the virus on our casino operations,” said Donaco’s Non-Executive Chairman, Paul Porntat.
“In light of the challenges resulting from the pandemic, we’ve taken rigorous measures to protect the business by keeping our costs down and preserving cash – whilst paying off the outstanding debt with our largest lender, Mega Bank.
“The pragmatic initiative to shift our focus towards attracting clientele from the local region, resulted in Aristo achieving positive EBITDA in the first three months of FY22, which demonstrates the strength of Donaco’s assets in the long-term.
“Looking ahead I am optimistic about Donaco’s future. Strong vaccination rates in the region where we operate have led the governments of both Thailand and Cambodia to target the easing of border and travel restrictions. Additionally, towards the end of 2021 the government of Vietnam approved the construction of Sapa airport, which presents a significant opportunity for our Aristo casino to attract new customers.
“These increasingly positive macroeconomic factors, combined with our strengthened balance sheet and cost-efficient operations, have placed us in a good position to achieve sustainable long-term growth as life and travel patterns gradually return to normal.”