Tuesday, December 7

Genting M’sia outdoor theme park should be operational by 2020


File photo shows tourists visiting the Sky Avenue Mall over the holiday period. — Bernama photo

KUCHING: Analysts believe that Genting Malaysia Bhd (Genting Malaysia) should be able to get the outdoor theme park operational by 2020, which could boost visitation by eight to 10 per cent.

Post its recent visit to the Highlands, Affin Hwang Investment Bank Bhd (AffinHwang Capital) has remained optimistic about its investment thesis for Genting Malaysia (Genting Malaysia) as the research firm believed the group should be able to get the outdoor theme park operational by 2020.

“We believe that the outdoor theme park in Highlands can deliver an additional two to 2.5 million visitations per year, adding on to the 25 million visitations Highlands received in 2017,” AffinHwang Capital said.

“Although the spending per visitation generated through the theme park might not be as high as the current spending, we believe it will help to complement the Highlands’ current offering as a family-friendly holiday destination.

“The outdoor theme park could also help to increase the overall spending of the younger crowd, who prefer spending more on the non-gaming-related activities in the Highlands.”

Based on AffinHwang Capital’s observations post its recent visit, major works for the theme park seem to be completed.

“Genting Malaysia should be able to complete the rides without help from other parties (or brand owners), as the intellectual property of the rides belongs to Genting Malaysia.

“A recent interview with Genting Malaysia’s chairman suggested that the theme park could be ready and open by early 2019.”

That said, the research firm believed Genting Malaysia would want to keep the group’s options open for some time, before deciding on whether to go ahead with the project without the partnership of a named operator.

Genting was hit by a spate of negative events last year, starting off with a a 10 per cent hike in casino duty, announced it was suing 21st Century Fox and its soon-to-be new owner Walt Disney Co for over US$1 billion for pulling out of an agreement for an outdoor Fox World theme park at its casino resort, and posting its first net loss in a decade of RM1.49 billion for the period ending September 30, 2018.

On a more positive side, Genting Malaysia chairman and chief executive officer Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay said the theme park “remains very much part of our plans” and would be ready by early 2019, according to his interview with Singapore’s The Business Times report on December 16 last year.

Though Genting Malaysia in a statement to Bursa later clarified the theme park’s opening date remains up in the air as the group was considering various options for it, ther group stressed that the theme park remains part of the group’s growth plans.

“The opening date of the outdoor theme park is dependent on the options to be pursued by Genting Malaysia,” it said in its filing.

Just before year-end, its parent company Genting Bhd also experienced its share of negativity with a lawsuit from US-based casino operator Wynn Resorts Holdings LLC against the group’s unit, Resorts World Las Vegas LLC, on grounds that RWLV’s Resorts World Las Vegas’ hotel and casino sported similar architectural designs to Wynn Las Vegas, Encore and Wynn Macau.