Genting HK Head Steps Down as Cruise Ship Faces Seizure

Posted on: January 24, 2022, 08:27h. 

Last updated on: January 24, 2022, 01:04h.

Genting Hong Kong (Genting HK) is facing a monumental task in 2022. After requesting bankruptcy protection, the Genting Group company has lost two lead executives, as well as a cruise ship.

Crystal Symphony
Crystal Symphony, one of several Genting Hong Kong cruise ships, at sea. It faces seizure over unpaid debt as Genting Hong Kong might need to sell certain assets. (Image: TradeWinds)

A German court determined last week that the company’s shipbuilding arm, MV Werften Holdings Ltd, didn’t need a bailout.

That led to Genting HK asking for bankruptcy protection for MV Werften. However, it is arriving a little too late for passengers of one of Genting HK’s ships.

Crystal Symphony Not Playing a Happy Tune

Crystal Symphony was on its way to docking in Miami when it made a last-minute course adjustment. That redirection put the ship in the Bahamas, the only way it could avoid being seized by the US Marshal Service.

Genting HK reportedly owes $4 million to Petroleum Far East over unpaid fuel bills. The company had gone to a judge to request assistance, and under maritime law, its request to have the ship seized was approved.

With a potential seizure pending in Miami, the ship rerouted to the Bahamas after a stop in Ft. Lauderdale. Some passengers were able to disembark before the course change; others had to ride it out.

It’s unclear how many were affected. But one passenger, Stephen Heard Fales, said on his Facebook account, “We all feel we were abducted by luxurious pirates!”

Asset Liquidation Possibly Coming

Genting HK may have to sell some or all of its global assets, including cruise ships, shipyards, and other maritime businesses. A court in Bermuda, where the company is headquartered, has appointed provisional liquidators to oversee a potential asset sale.

The liquidators will have “extensive executive power” over the company, according to a Genting HK announcement. It might also mean the liquidators will assist in developing a debt restructuring exercise that would allow the company to continue.

If creditors are unable to reach a compromise, the liquidators will receive permission to dispose of all or part of the company’s assets in order to maximize the value and return for creditors.

Cruise Industry News has an idea of who might consider purchasing Genting HK’s ocean-going assets if they are offered for sale. It suggests first that Genting may be able to reorganize to keep Crystal Cruises alive. If not, Lindblad Expeditions and MSC Cruises make the top of the list.

Other well-known cruise ship operators, such as Carnival and Royal, are possible options. However, these face financial problems of their own.

Top Executives Out at Genting HK

In light of the rapid implosion of Genting HK, the company has seen several changes at the top of the ranks.

On Friday, Lim Kok Thay resigned as chairman, CEO and executive director. He holds 76% of the company, and for now, will continue as the chairman and CEO of Genting Berhad, Genting Malaysia, and Genting Singapore.

Also leaving the company is Colin Au. Until last Friday, he was the deputy CEO, executive director, and group president of the company. Three non-executive directors, Alan Smith, Ambrose Lam Wai Hon, and Justin Tan Wah, resigned last week as well.