Apr 27, 2023 Newsdesk Latest News, Top of the deck, World
Global casino operator Genting Malaysia Bhd says one of its units has a “conditional sale and purchase agreement” for the disposal of several land plots in Miami, Florida, in the United States, for a total cash consideration of just below US$1.23 billion. The firm said it expected a gain on disposal of US$967 million, according to a Thursday filing to Bursa Malaysia.
Resorts World Miami LLC, is to sell four parcels of land – with an aggregate area of 673,691 square feet (62,588 sq metres) – to Smart Miami City LLC, the latter a unit of real estate developer Terra Group. The plots are located close to commercial, residential, and shopping areas in Miami.
Genting Malaysia acquired in May 2011 three Miami plots, paying US$246 million. A fourth parcel was bought in May 2017 for US$13 million.
Maybank Investment Bank Bhd said in a Thursday note commenting on the sale deal that it does “not expect Genting Malaysia to declare special dividends but instead, to fortify its balance sheet to put forward a convincing bid to secure a lucrative downstate casino licence in New York”.
Genting Malaysia has for some time been identified as a likely suitor. The New York State Gaming Commission in January launched a request for applications (RFA) process for three downstate New York gaming licences.
A number of investment analysts has suggested that Genting group could be a front runner there. It already runs an electronic games facility called Resorts World Casino New York City; and has investment in Empire Resorts Inc, which runs the full-service casino Resorts World Catskills, in upstate New York.
Genting Malaysia operates Resorts World Genting, Malaysia’s only licensed casino property. The group also runs casinos in the United States – via associated businesses – and in the Bahamas, the United Kingdom, and Egypt.
Genting Malaysia stated in Thursday’s filing that the Miami property market had “grown significantly” since its initial investment there.
“The proposed disposal provides Genting Malaysia with the opportunity to capitalise on the growth of the market and unlock significant value in a non-core asset at an attractive price, enhancing the cash position of the company,” stated the firm.
It added: “This provides Genting Malaysia with financial flexibility for its operations and future investments as and when they arise.”
Some other large gaming operators with Asia venues – including Las Vegas Sands Corp, MGM Resorts International, and Wynn Resorts Ltd –have also been linked to a bid for a New York licence.
Las Vegas Sands, which operates casinos in Macau and Singapore, signed this week a preliminary 99-year lease agreement with New York’s Nassau County, for use of its Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum site for the potential development of a casino resort there.
Robert Goldstein, chairman and chief executive of Las Vegas Sands, said on a conference call following the firm’s first-quarter earnings, that work was in “progress” regarding the New York licensing process.
“Obviously, it has [been] pushed back … we’ve been told, it [tender results] could be early first quarter of 2024,” he stated.
Maybank said in a separate, Wednesday note that a decision from the New York regulator was originally expected in the fourth quarter this year.
“The request for applications process has stalled after applicants submitted questions to the New York State Gaming Commission for clarification three months ago,” wrote analyst Samuel Yin Shao Yang.
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