CASINO

Genting targets Japan and South Korea for expansion opportunities

TAGs: Business, Casino News, Genting, Japan, South Korea

genting bhdWith plenty of riches to its name, the Genting Group is looking into scratching its expansion itch with potential business opportunities in Japan or South Korea, two countries that appear to be loosening their tight regulations on casinos. The Malaysian casino company has around RM13.2bil as of Dec. 31, 2011, with plenty of reserve funds to tap into, including their capacity to generate more than RM500mil in free cash flow every year. Likewise, the company also has had tremendous success selling perpetual subordinated capital securities to investors. A month ago, Genting Singapore managed to raise S$1.8 billion from selling perpetual securitiesto private-banking investors and the company is planning to sell around S$500 million more to retail investors.With an abundance of expansion funds, Genting has set its sights on looking ahead to prospective new locations to further expand their growing business. Two countries the Malaysian casino company has in its sights are Japan and South Korea.

In an email reply to StarBiz Week, Genting Singapore chief financial officer Lee Shi Ruh mentioned the company’s interest in looking at opportunities in the two Asian nations. “Should the opportunities arise, Japan and Korea are the options we can look at,” she said.

Genting’s candy eye for both Japan and Korea doesn’t come as a surprise for many analysts, especially considering that the two countries have had respective talks in breaking open the casino industry. Japan, in particular, has had long discussions on “liberalizing” the casino industry, evidenced by a group of lawmakers in Japan who are pushing for a bill that could legalize casinos in the country. Meanwhile, South Korea only has one casino open to citizens, but talks are underway regarding a plan to build a state-of-the-art casino resort near Incheon International Airport.

Despite the cause for optimism, there’s still a lot of work left to be done before either country finally relents on loosening their stringent casino regulations. But if there’s one beacon of hope Genting can hold on to, it’s the fact that for all of Singapore’s casino opulence these days, the country only legalized casinos in 2005.

If and when the two nations do open themselves up to the casino industry, expect Genting to be front and center in trying to get their brand in either country. For a casino that has long been keen on expansion, Genting will be working the midnight oil to use their truckload of expansion funds to penetrate the Japanese or Korean market. After all, where else would they use up their billions?

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