Civil war at cash-rich Genting Group

Civil war broke out at Genting Group as members of the founding family engage in explosive lawsuits which threaten to undermine the control of Executive Chairman, Lim Kok Thay. The legal battle involves the will left behind by the late founder, Lim Goh Tong. Apart from this, Kok Thay is also engaged in a separate lawsuit with one of his sisters over beneficial interest in a block of Genting shares.

Many people fear that the family feuds would lead to devastating turmoil for the revered casino operator. But as far as I am concerned, I am convinced that the Lim family would ride out the storm and move on from this dark chapter. After all, this is Genting Group, one of the most successful Malaysian business empire for the last 30 years. To claim that these legal battles would bring down Genting Group is ludicrous.

The success story of Genting Highlands gaming resort is indeed intriguing. In fact, it was so successful that Singapore changed the law to legalize casinos in 2006 (Casino Control Act), paving the way for Genting Group to build a gaming resort in Sentosa. Since then, Singapore has become the second largest gambling market in Asia, behind only Macau.

The beginning

Nonetheless, the lawsuits threaten to mar the legacy of Lim Goh Tong, who have built a massive global empire sprawling Malaysia, Singapore, China, USA and UK. His rag-to-riches story is truly inspiring. Born in China, Goh Tong was forced to leave school at 16 when his father died. He left China for Malaysia due to political unrests in China, making his living from machinery trading. Subsequently, he ventured into iron mining and construction-related industries.

Despite having little education, Goh Tong had the foresight to build a casino at a forest hill-top in Genting, making it into one of the most successful casino resorts in the world. Using all his wealth, he invested in building the casino after winning the license granted by the Malaysia government. It was a stroke of ingenuity as Genting Highlands went on to evolve into a global conglomerate with businesses in plantation, property development, oil and gas, life science and leisure and hospitality.

Genting share price

The success story of Genting Highlands caught the eyes of Singapore government. In 2005, Singapore was looking for game-changing tourist attractions in a bid to re-invent the garden city. The idea of gaming resort proved too much to resist. In 2006, Genting Group bid for one of the two casino licenses and was successfully awarded the Sentosa integrated resort project by the Government of Singapore. Resorts World Sentosa broke ground in 2007 and was officially opened in 2010.

Expansion into Japan

In Singapore, you can invest in shares of Genting Singapore, a principal indirect subsidiary of Genting Berhad and part of the Genting Group. Genting Singapore was listed on the SGX main board on 12 December 2005 and is one of the Straits Times Index (STI) which tracks the performance of the top 30 listed companies in Singapore.

The company primarily owns Resorts World Sentosa, a destination resort, which offers a casino, Universal Studios Singapore Theme Park, Adventure Cove Waterpark, S.E.A. Aquarium, MICE facilities, hotels, Michelin starred restaurants, and specialty retail outlets. It is also involved in the gaming and integrated resort development activities in Australia, the Bahamas, Malaysia, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, and Singapore.

Recently, Genting Group announced the establishment of a Japan branch office and has successfully raised 20 billion yen in a JPY-denominated Samurai bond in Japan in October. The funds are earmarked for supporting the corporate activities in Japan including preparatory works in anticipation of the Japan IR execution bill passage and bidding for Japan gaming licences.

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