Following board departures, Donaco CEO resigns


Last week, more than half of Donaco International’s board resigned. Thursday, after six months at the helm, CEO Paul Arbuckle gave his six months’ notice as the company continues its attempts to reform itself following the disastrous purchase of Star Vegas. Arbuckle’s final day with the company will be June 4, 2020.

The filing was minimal in further details. A statement from the board said that Arbuckle had made “a significant contribution to improving the operations of Donaco” in his six months with the company. The board also noted that they will immediately begin the executive search process to find a replacement.

A statement from Paul Arbuckle ended the filling: “I have enjoyed my time with Donaco, and I wish the Company all the best for the future.”

The company, traded on the Australian Securities Exchange, closed at AU$0.08 last Friday in the midst of the board departures before the company requested Monday that trading be suspended until it has sufficient board members. In mid-2017, Donaco International was traded at AU$0.58.

In 2015, Donaco International made a bet on Poipet by purchasing Star Vegas, the Cambodian city’s largest casino from Thai businessman Somboon Sukcharoenkraisri for US$360 million. Near the Thai border, Poipet’s casinos cater to gamblers from Thailand, where gambling is not allowed. As a part of the deal, Somboon would retain two seats on the board.

Following the acquisition, Donaco’s revenues for the financial year ending June 30, 2016 were eight times higher than the previous year. The good fortune began to unravel with the Thai King’s death, which caused a 17% drop in revenue for the second half of 2016 as the country mourned, and a cancellation of its partnership with Manchester United.

After taking full control of the casino from Somboon in 2017, Somboon was linked to newly setup rival casinos despite a non-compete clause in the sales contract. In addition, Star Vegas’s VIP junkets, its lifeline for acquiring high rollers from neighboring countries, were poached along with many other important staff to the casino.