Genting Malaysia has stated confidence that it can address any liquidity challenges at Empire Resorts following reports that the US-based casino operator is on the verge of declaring bankruptcy.
It has been alleged this week that Empire Resorts, which owns and operates New York’s Resorts World Catskills and harness horseracing facility Monticello Raceway, will file for bankruptcy if it can’t produce fresh capital or a restructuring of more than US$400 million in debt.
The financial concerns follow a recent announcement by Genting Malaysia that it has entered into a binding term sheet with Kien Huat Realty III Ltd, the family trust of its Chairman Lim Kok Thay, for the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary Genting (USA) Ltd to acquire 13.2 million shares in Empire Resorts, equivalent to a 35% stake.
In turn, Kien Huat, which currently holds an 86% stake in Empire, has issued an unsolicited proposal to acquire all remaining Empire shares after which a new operating entity would be formed of which 51% would be owned by Kien Huat and 49% by Genting (USA) Ltd.
Responding to a clarification request from Bursa Malaysia on Thursday, Genting Malaysia said, “We believe that, with immediate improvements to Empire’s operations following an expeditious consummation of the Proposed Merger, Empire’s present liquidity challenges can be met.
“Empire [has] identified multiple options to address its current liquidity challenges, including seeking arrangements to provide additional liquidity, making reductions to its cost structure, restructuring of its and its subsidiaries’ existing debt terms and pursuing the joint non-binding proposal submitted by Genting Malaysia and Kien Huat.
“Genting Malaysia strongly believes that the Proposal is the best alternative available to Empire’s stockholders and that the Proposal is also in the best interests of Genting Malaysia’s shareholders.”
Genting Malaysia also provided further detail on its plans for Resorts World Catskills should it take full ownership, noting that its current New York property, Resorts World New York, is “the best performing asset in the said market and one of the highest grossing slot operations in the world.”
“Resorts World New York, under Genting Malaysia’s leadership and management, has demonstrated a successful track record in New York both in terms of development and operations,” it said. “Genting Malaysia, because of its established management in New York, is in a unique position to take advantage of synergies between its existing operations at Resorts World New York and Resorts World Catskills.”
Empire Resorts reported losses of US$138.7 million in 2018 and US$73.7 million for the six months to 30 June 2019.