Malaysia

Genting Bhd, a Malaysian conglomerate with interests ranging from gambling to palm oil, said its Q1 pre-tax profit from continuing operations surged 57 percent, boosted by its casino businesses.
Profit rose to RM1,464.2 million ($455.4 million) from RM933.3 million in the same period a year ago. Group revenue gained 20 percent to RM4,693.4 million. Net earnings per share were up 25 percent.
The company is pursuing aggressive expansion plans around the world to reduce its dependence on its Singapore and Malaysian businesses.

Credit rating agency Moody’s says Genting’s planned $4 billion Resorts World Las Vegas project may be negative to the group’s credit outlook as it boosts leverage levels and entails execution risk. The project is likely to increase net debt leverage to around 1.0 from 0.3 as of December 2013. "With a number of expansion projects already under way, the Las Vegas development increases our estimate of Genting's annual capex to $2.2 billion to $3.4 billion from $1.5 billion to $2.2 billion 2014-16,” it said.

Hong Leong Investment Bank Research (HLIB Research) has maintained its "hold" call on Genting Malaysia Bhd and its target price unchanged after Genting Group outlined plans for a casino in Orange County in New York, USA. The project is a 238-acre resort proposed on the site of the Tuxedo Ridge Ski Center. Plans include a casino, two hotels, restaurants and facilities for year-round outdoor recreation including skiing. The investment firm estimated a price tag of between US$400 million and US$750 million 

 

Genting said its fourth-quarter net profit fell 80 percent to 483.83 million ringgit ($147.96 million), as one-time gains from the sale of power plants last year weren’t repeated. Excluding those gains, Genting would have recorded a 7.4 percent decline in net profit. EBITDA fell because of a decline from its gaming operations in Singapore and due to the start-up of projects in the U.S.

 

About 93 percent of 600 primary school pupils said they have had experience with gambling, local press reports said, citing the Gamblers Rehab Centre Malaysia. About 98 percent gambled over the Chinese New Year, with others saying they had gambled during weddings of family members and relatives. The study also found that 89% of 5,000 secondary school students surveyed had been involved in gambling. Most of them (82%) started gambling with family members, followed by friends, on the Internet and at school.

 

Johor’s state government has not received any application or proposal to open a casino in the state to date, local media cited Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin as saying. He added all casino licenses are controlled by the federal government and not the state. According to press reports late last year, Berjaya Assets Bhd is planning to turn some of its land in Johor Bahru into an integrated resort, potentially including slot machines.

 

Police in Malaysia’s Sibi and Sarawak provinces are stepping up action against illegal gambling with the arrest of 48 in a series of raids on online gambling operations on New Year’s Eve. More than 300 computers were seized during the raid, while 19 employees and 29 customers were taken into custody.

Genting Malaysia said it has bought an aircraft from sister company Genting Hong Kong Ltd for RM56.7 million ($17.3 million) to ferry its premium players between locations in the U.S. The Challenger 605 aircraft was built in 2007 and delivered in 2008 and has a seating capacity of 12 passengers. It is currently used by Genting Hong Kong to fly its premium casino customers.

Berjaya Assets Bhd is planning to build an entertainment resort, with a chain of high-end restaurants and possibly slot machines, on its land in Johor Baru, a local newspaper reported. 

The project may be built on about 18 acres near the Singapore-Malaysia causeway, with a view to winning business from two casinos in nearby Singapore. The project needs the approval of state and some federal government agencies, including the Ministry of Finance, the report said.

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s has raised its long-term corporate credit rating on Genting to A- from BBB+ and said the outlook is stable, thanks mainly to surplus cash on the balance sheet. 

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