GN Malaysia sales as of 2022 as of 2019

Annual sales at casino operator Genting Malaysia Bhd may not return to 2019 levels until 2022 through a “tick-shaped” recovery due to the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s according to a note on Thursday from banking group Nomura.

Citing data from casino companies, the agency pointed out that group revenue was just 10.41 billion yuan ($2.38 billion) in 2019. The agency believes the group’s revenue will only return to 10.19 billion yuan in 2022.

“It remains unclear how much longer lockdown measures, travel restrictions and strong social distancing norms will remain in place,” analysts Tushar Mohata and Alpha Aggarwal wrote.

A notice posted on the website of the group’s flagship property, Resorts World Genting (pictured), now says the suspension, which began on March 18, is in effect until April 28.

“About 30% of the cash costs are fixed, but management is attempting to lower them,” the agency said of overheads borne by Genting Malaysia during the crisis. Nomura cited pay cuts shown in parts of the Genting group as an example of such discipline.

Genting Malaysia has operations in the United States, the Bahamas, the United Kingdom and Egypt, with key locations in Genting Highlands, Malaysia’s only licensed casino resort.

The Malaysian resort was “more dependent on the domestic market, with more than 70% of its guests being Malaysian as well as more than 70% of its guests being day-trippers,” Nomura analysis said. That suggests “some pent-up demand could return if lockdowns ease even as international borders remain closed,” Nomura added.

Many industry commentators have suggested that the Asian casino market will emerge from coronavirus lockdowns before the United States. Genting Malaysia has a majority-owned operation in the state of New York, one of the U.S. regions hardest hit by COVID-19.

“International businesses will be hit harder as the region is hit hard by COVID-19 (New York and the UK),” Nomura wrote.

The agency expects group revenue to be just 4.38 billion yuan in 2020, about half of last year’s, assuming market recovery begins this year. The agency sees 3.19 billion yuan, or about 72.9% of all 2020, coming from Malaysian properties. The brokerage now expects Genting Malaysia to report a net loss of nearly 1.1 billion yuan this year, returning to profit in 2021. The casino operator reported a net profit of just under 1.4 billion yuan for 2019.

Nomura believes Genting Malaysia’s total group revenue in 2021 was nearly 8.52 billion yuan, with 5.96 billion yuan, or less than 70%, coming from Genting Highland operations.

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