Genting’s Cruise Ship Ambitions Reborn through Resorts World Cruises

Posted on: April 19, 2022, 06:08h. 

Last updated on: April 19, 2022, 10:17h.

Genting Hong Kong had to make a quick exit from the cruise ship business earlier this year over financial troubles. Now, Genting Group, its parent company and the operator of casinos around the world, apparently isn’t ready to give up its dreams.

Lim Kok Thay
Lim Kok Thay, the billionaire businessman behind the Genting Group portfolio of companies. He could be looking to reignite an attempt to offer casino cruises. (Image: The Independent)

Genting Hong Kong (Genting HK) saw its cruise ship operations sink earlier this year, the result of overspending and massive losses from COVID-19. Not able to pay its bills, several ships left passengers stranded, and the company’s shipyards in Germany became part of bankruptcy proceedings.

The family behind Genting HK and the Genting brand, which operates casinos and hospitality companies through different subsidiaries, still believes in its seafaring capabilities. The Straits Times produced documentation that showed that the Lim family has created Resorts World Cruises Pte Ltd in Singapore.

Round Two for Casino Cruises

Genting HK operated casino cruises around the world, including out of Hong Kong and Singapore. The company unintentionally overextended itself as it introduced Dream Cruises, Crystal Cruises, and Star Cruises.

COVID-19 delivered a big blow to the company, forcing it to halt a number of operations. Included were the cruise ship brands, which almost meant the end of one of Genting HK’s most ambitious projects, Global Dream.

As a result of the financial troubles, Genting HK’s former chairman and CEO, Lim Kok Thay, resigned from his positions. However, he continued to own most of the company.

Last year, Lim, along with son Lim Keong Hui and Gerard Lim Ewe Keng, established a new entity, Two Trees Family Holdings. That company then set up Resorts World Cruises last month.

What the company’s function will be isn’t clear. However, given Lim’s ties to the Resorts World casino properties, including Resorts World Las Vegas and the creation of a new company with “cruises” in the title, it’s easy to put the pieces together.

Global Dream Could Sail

Global Dream, a ship that Genting HK previously asserted would be the largest passenger ship ever, might eventually make its way to Resorts World Cruises. When the vessel became part of the bankruptcy plan, Lim was one of the first to express interest in buying it.

The ship, which Genting HK was not able to complete before the financial crash, sits in a shipyard in Germany. If Lim is able to realize his plans, Resorts World Cruises may include the ship among its first. However, that won’t be possible until Genting pays all of its outstanding debts.

In addition to owing creditors in Germany, Genting has bills it has to pay elsewhere. A few ships faced the threat of seizure by the US Marshal Service earlier this year. This was the result of the company’s inability to pay outstanding fuel bills. Any attempt to move Global Dream, once complete, without settling all claims could prove embarrassing to the company.

Genting Finds Money

Genting has apparently found some money somewhere. Another offshoot, Genting Singapore, is going to start its $3.3-billion upgrade of the Resorts World Sentosa integrated resort in Singapore before June.

The company confirmed in February that the planned upgrades, delayed due to COVID-19, were going to move forward sometime during the second quarter of this year. It reiterated its position last week during its annual general meeting with shareholders.

Genting Singapore didn’t specify how much it is ready to spend now. However, it explained that several projects will soon be underway. Three hotels, including Hard Rock Hotel Singapore, Hotel Michael, and Festive Hotel will receive upgrades.

In addition, the Resorts World Convention Centre will receive a great deal of attention. Minion Land and Oceanarium will also see expansion projects this quarter.