Amidst speculation that the Genting Group’s purchase by its Resorts World division of US$100 million of MGM Mirage debt papers last week could lead to a possible takeover of the MGM Grand Macau, the company said it ‘constantly reviews and evaluates business and investment opportunities that may arise in the gaming industry.’ Resorts World continued, ‘However, RWB does not comment on investors' speculation as reported but will make the necessary public announcements in compliance with the Listing Requirements of Bursa Malaysia Securities Berhad as and when appropriate.’
Also last week MGM Mirage was advised by the New Jersey gambling regulators to ‘disengage’ from any business association with its Macau joint venture partner Pansy Ho. Despite having the partnership cleared by the Nevada gambling authorities, New Jersey deems Stanley Ho’s daughter to be an unsuitable business partner.
Reportedly Macau casino revenue fell in April for the fifth straight month, 13% down on March and 9% down from April 2008. However, there are signs of increasing visitor numbers from mainland China and BNP Paribas says it expects Macau to return to growth in September. After Macau’s new chief executive takes office on 26 July, there is a possibility that visa restrictions for Chinese tourists will be relaxed.
Next Monday the new City of Dreams development in Macau opens. Other projects by Las Vegas Sands and Galaxy Entertainment have been put on hold but if visitor numbers and gambling revenue pick up Macau could see another round of gambling expansion.
Today Resorts World announced its first quarter 2009 financial results. Revenue grew by 8% to RM1.175 billion (US$335 million), driven mainly by better underlying performance in the leisure and hospitality segment. Net profit declined 7%, primarily due to impairment of its investment in Star Cruises, but would have been up 3% without the impairment loss. The Group expects the business environment to remain challenging because of consumer worries over the economy and the H1N1 virus, both of which may affect visitor numbers at the Genting Highland Resort. (E-05.27.09)
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