Genting Malaysia’s bold $100 million investment in Empire Resorts

Lea Hogg 4 months ago
Genting Malaysia’s bold $100 million investment in Empire Resorts

Genting Malaysia, a prominent gaming and hospitality company, has announced another substantial investment in its U.S. subsidiary, Empire Resorts. This recent infusion of capital amounts to US$100 million, bringing Genting Malaysia’s total investment in Empire Resorts to an impressive US$724 million.

However, the significant financial commitment made by Genting Malaysia since 2019 has prompted analysts to scrutinize the decision’s wisdom.

Empire’s recent lack of profitability

The US$100 million investment is facilitated through Genting ER II LLC, an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Genting Malaysia. This subsidiary has entered into a Subscription Agreement to acquire “Series M Preferred Stock” of Empire Resorts. Of this investment, US$58 million is earmarked to repay an existing bank facility, while the remaining US$42 million will bolster working capital.

Empire Resorts presently oversees the operation of Resorts World Catskills (RWC) in New York, Resorts World Hudson Valley (RWHV), and a mobile sports betting platform that commenced operations in March 2022. Genting Malaysia holds a 49% stake in Empire Resorts, with the remainder owned by Lim Kok Thay’s Kien Huat Realty III Ltd, the largest shareholder of Genting Malaysia.

In the event that Genting Malaysia chooses to convert all available stocks, its ownership stake in Empire Resorts could potentially grow to 89.6% by the financial year 2030. The company asserts that this increased ownership will empower Empire Resorts to reduce financial leverage and expenses, enabling a concentrated effort on maximizing operational potential in the U.S.

However, Nomura analysts express skepticism about the investment decision, citing Empire’s recent lack of profitability. Despite this, shareholder approval was not required for the transaction.

Strong performance anticipated

Anticipated financial projections indicate that Genting Malaysia’s partners may incur losses of MYR128 million (approximately US$28 million) in 2023 and MYR103 million (approximately US$22 million) in 2024.

As Genting Malaysia makes this latest investment, it is concurrently involved in bidding for one of three licenses in New York, contending with industry giants such as Las Vegas Sands, MGM, Caesars, and Wynn. If granted, licence holders will be obligated to generate $2 billion in annual revenue and achieve $600 million in profit.

Analysts Tushar Mohata and Alpa Aggarwal expect minimal impact on stock prices due to the new investment, as Resorts World Genting in Malaysia is still in the recovery phase. They anticipate a strong performance in the December quarter of 2023 and further improvements in fiscal year 2024, buoyed by Malaysia’s recent visa waiver for Chinese and Indian tourists. The analysts note operational and yield improvements across all assets, with losses from underperforming assets gradually narrowing.

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