Casino operator Genting Malaysia Bhd says it has agreed to inject US$40 million into loss-making U.S.-based gaming operator Empire Resorts Inc, by subscribing to the latter’s preferred stock. “The proceeds from the equity injection will be utilised by Empire for the purposes of a refinancing plan and working capital,” said Genting Malaysia in a Thursday filing to Bursa Malaysia.
Genting Malaysia completed the acquisition of a 49-percent stake in the U.S.-based company in November last year. Empire Resorts owns and operates Resorts World Catskills (pictured), a casino complex in upstate New York, approximately 90 miles (144 kilometres) from New York City. That casino complex has now been temporarily closed amid concerns linked to the further spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The preferred stock from Empire Resorts has a maturity date of December 31, 2038. It is convertible at any time on or after December 31, 2030 and prior to the maturity date at a conversion price of US$20 per common stock, according to the filing.
In Thursday’s statement, Genting Malaysia said the equity injection would be funded via “internally-generated funds”.
Genting Malaysia noted: “The equity injection … enables Empire to have funds for the refinancing. The proceeds also provide Empire additional funds for its working capital, if required in view of the recently-announced temporary closure of Resorts World Catskills by the authorities due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”
It added: “Empire is currently working on both short- and long-term solutions to refinance its outstanding debt of US$540.0 million … as at 31 December 2019, with a syndicate of banks.”
In February, Genting Malaysia said it recorded a loss of MYR31.6 million (US7.17 million) in the fourth quarter of 2019 as part of its share of results related to its stake in Empire Resorts.
But the company said that operating results at Resorts World Catskills have “continued to improve”. For the financial year ended 2019, that property registered a 48 percent growth in total gross gaming revenue, to US$208.7 million, according to Genting Malaysia’s latest filing.
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