Donaco forges new path

by Charlotte Lee Last Updated
Donaco doesn?t plan to sell properties despite financial challenges 

Donaco International has spent the past couple of months shuffling around its board of directors and top brass.

Calvin Ayre reports that the Australian-listed casino company saw General Counsel Ben Reichel announce that he would step away from the board room at the beginning of December, just six days before David Green and Yugo Kinoshita also departed.

Next to go was chief executive officer Paul Arbuckle, right on the heels of these previous exits.

Donaco is now in the rebuilding phase, first bringing onboard new non-executive board members Mel Ashton and Simon Vertullo, and, now promoting two members of the board to executive members.

Leo Chan and Kurkye Wong are part of Argyle Street Management, which purchased a 19.25 per cent stake in Donaco in July last year through its subsidiary, On Nut Road Ltd.

Both Chan and Wong were added to the board, in non-executive roles, just after that purchase was consummated and despite Donaco’s initial determination that the amount of the stake was only good for one spot on the board.

The appointments come with some new perks.

According to a filing with the Australian Securities Exchange, Donaco indicates that the two will be involved in “legal, operational and financial matters” and adds, “Each of Mr Chan and Mr Wong has signed an employment contract, and will be paid a salary of A$200,000, which incorporates their existing fees in their current roles as Directors.”

The two newly appointed Donaco executives are on the board of ASM as well.

Mr Chan is an executive director at the company and comes with a solid background dating back more than 13 years in the Asian investment market.

Mr Wong is ASM’s vice president and also has a strong background in finance investment.

Both can thank Joey Lim for getting to where they are today.

The Donaco founder and former chief executive officer didn’t do a good job of managing the books, ultimately defaulting on a loan offered by Orchard Capital partners.

That allowed Orchard to step in and purchase his 27.5 per cent stake, which was then sold to ASM.

Things are finally beginning to turn around for the casino operator though.

Revenue was less than stellar last year, but 2020 is bringing with it a lot of positive change, including a possible resolution to an ongoing legal battle across several fronts, and the new board and hierarchy structures should help bring new life into the company.

Donaco’s CEO steps aside

Joey Lim Keong Yew left his position as chief executive officer of Donaco International in March, but will remain on the company’s board as a non-executive director, Calvin Ayre reported.

His brother, Ben Lim Keong Hoe is going to continue as the interim chief executive officer and manager director, roles that he was given when Joey Lim exited due to illness this past December.

Joey Lim had been on sick leave since December 6, 2018.

At the time, he was serving as managing director and chief executive officer and was expected to only be away for three months.

The Lim brothers controlled 41.13 per cent of Donaco International according to a filing with the Australian Securities Exchange last October.

Earlier this month, it was announced that a 27 per cent stake previously held by the Lim family had been sold.

That deal saw Vincent Prinina and Mitchell Mansfield appointed as “joint and several receivers of approximately 224 shares” in Donaco.

It wasn’t clear whether or not that stake was held directly by the Lim brothers, or by an entity controlled by the Lim family.

The appointment of the receivers of the shares was made by Madison Pacific Trust Ltd, the security trustee for OL.

That appointment was made “pursuant to certain financing agreements with entities controlled by Mr Joey Lim.”

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