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Expanding Horizons

Malaysia’s Genting Group is in growth mode across the globe

Thursday, 22 August 2013 16:44
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Genting Group has big plans for expansion in the Asia-Pacific region that include raising its stake in Australia’s Echo Entertainment and investing in Japan if licenses become available there.

Lim Kok Thay, chairman of the Malaysian resort conglomerate, said listed subsidiary Genting Hong Kong has applied to regulators in New South Wales and Queensland to increase its holding in the operator of Sydney’s only casino to as much as 25% and is “patiently waiting” for the goahead.

“My guess is it will go on for a while,” the 61-year-old billionaire said in a wide-ranging interview with Bloomberg.

Genting Hong Kong currently holds 6.6% of Echo’s ASX-listed shares.

Japan could be Genting’s next casino investment should Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government approve legislation, Mr Lim said. “With a new and stronger government in place, I think their focus would be to drive the Japanese economy. Tourism certainly must be one of the factors that the government will be looking at.”

He said also that he isn’t concerned about slowing growth in Singapore, where his company owns one of two resort casinos through a Singapore-listed subsidiary, and isn’t planning any significant alterations in the company’s strategy there.


Resorts World Genting in Malaysia

“The economy around Asia is still pretty upbeat,” he noted.

In fact, Genting is planning a major expansion in and around its original casino in Malaysia, one of the Singapore casinos’ principal feeder markets.

Casino de Genting, once the region’s largest gambling venue, located north of Kuala Lumpur in a mountaintop resort called Genting Highlands (also known as Resorts World Genting), will be revamped at a cost of 3 billion ringgit (US$937 million) and expanded by 1,300 hotel rooms. The plan, slated for completion in 2016, includes a 400 million ringgit joint venture with 21st Century Fox to develop a 25-acre movie-themed amusement park that will feature more than 25 rides and attractions based on Fox film brands.


Genting’s Bimini SuperFast has received the green light from the US Coast Guard to start ferrying gamblers from south Florida to the company’s new casino in the Bahamas.

Genting boosted its presence in the Americas with the opening last month of a 750-acre beachfront complex in the Bahamas, Resorts World Bimini, which features luxury villas, shopping and dining, a marina and a 10,000-square-foot casino containing 15 table games and 153 slot machines. The company also operates one of the largest slot operations in the United States at Aqueduct racetrack in the New York City borough of Queens and plans to enter Las Vegas in a big way with its recent purchase of Boyd Gaming’s unfinished Echelon resort on the Strip.

Macau looms large for Mr Thay as well, “but the door’s closed,” he said.

“When it next opens, we would be the first one knocking on that door and try our luck.”

Meanwhile, in the Philippines, Genting Hong Kong’s joint venture with Philippine property giant Alliance Global Group, Travellers International Hotel Group, has said it will spend US$600 million over the next three years to expand its Resorts World Manila casino hotel complex.

The company said its recent decision to delay a planned $1 billion IPO will not Genting’s Bimini SuperFast has received the green light from the US Coast Guard to start ferrying gamblers from south Florida to the company’s new casino in the Bahamas. Macau looms large for Genting Group chairman Lim Kok Thay as well, “but the door’s closed,” he said. interfere with the investment and said the expansion, which is slated to include 1,100 more hotel rooms, a convention center and additional gaming space, might be funded through the debt markets, according to a Reuters report.


Macau looms large for Genting Group chairmanLim Kok Thay as well, “but the door’s closed,” he said.

Travellers has postponed the offering on the Philippine Stock Exchange until September or October, depending on market conditions. It was looking to use the proceeds to fund the expansion of the Resorts World facilities, which are located near Terminal 3 of Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

“We are not pressured,” President Kingson Sian said of the IPO. “We will just wait for the right timing.”

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