4 Lim Kok Thay
EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN AND CEO
CHAIRMAN AND CEO
Genting Hong Kong
POWER SCORE: 3,165
POSITION LAST YEAR: 4
CLAIMS TO FAME
Lim unites a sprawling global gaming group represented in North America, Europe and Asia, plus the high seas
Largest Asian casino group not represented in Macau
Took reins from his father, founder Lim Goh Tong, grooming son Hui Lim as successor
Genting Group continues to lurk – hulk may be a better term – quietly on the margins, in contrast to its status as the most global gaming company with some US$5 billion in revenue and US$1.7 billion EBITDA. It may not retain that low profile once Resorts World Las Vegas opens in 2020, perhaps followed by winning a coveted Japan casino concession. For now, though, Genting has an eclectic collection of assets and a Dream.
It all started with Lim’s father, Lim Goh Tong. The group inaugurated Founder’s Day last February 28, the centennial of Lim Goh Tong’s birth, declaring core values of Hard Work, Honesty, Compassion, Harmony and Loyalty. “By instilling these core values, the Genting Group will emulate the Founder’s determination and dedication to achieve the company’s goals and bring the organization to greater heights,” Lim declared.
The group takes its name from the town where the elder Lim began cutting a road through the jungle up to the Highlands retreat outside Kuala Lumpur that’s now known as Resorts World Genting. The simple narrative is that Genting was comfortable there and bid on the Singapore IR license as a matter of self-preservation. In truth, Genting had a footloose – and cash rich – quality that led to investments in US tribal casinos and Australia, then the purchase of UK gaming assets and Star Cruises, where Lim Kok Thay reportedly cut his teeth in the family business. Its North American footprint has spread to New York with Resorts World New York City and Resorts World Catskills, the Bahamas with Resorts World Bimini, which it someday hopes to pair with an IR in Miami on vast property holdings there, and the US$4 billion Resorts World Las Vegas on the Strip. It’s also a partner in Resorts World Manila with local billionaire Andrew Tan’s Alliance Global.
Dream Cruises is Lim’s play for mainland China’s middle class, the first cruises specifically designed for that market with tailor-made leisure, food and gaming options. Dream Cruises has two ships operating and two more due for delivery in 2020 and 2021. It’s positioned as a value entry beside Star and luxury segment acquisition Crystal Cruises.
Genting’s structure is not designed for transparency or clarity. For now, RW Las Vegas is under main holding company Genting Berhad, listed in KL along with Genting Malaysia, comprising the Malaysian and UK assets plus RW New York City and RW Bimini. Singapore-listed Genting Singapore owns RW Sentosa. Genting Berhad owns shares in all of the above, but sold its stake in Genting Hong Kong, the Hong Kong-traded vehicle for the group’s cruise assets and RW Manila stake. The Catskills property, 150 kilometers north of New York City, is held via a Lim investment arm. At the apex of it all sits Lim, with his son Hui Lim posed to extend the dynasty to a third generation.
It’s a pretty good bet that recent structural tweaks relate to Japan, where RW Sentosa serves as a potential model, and the group’s history of successful collaboration make it a very desirable partner. Genting is the biggest Asian gaming operator that’s not in Macau, and that could prove a crucial differentiation among rival aspirants.
For the full list of 2018 Asian Gaming Power 50 winners, click here.