Genting Hong Kong struggles amid pandemic restrictions

by Noah Taylor Last Updated
Fitch provides outlook on Genting’s portfolio

Genting Hong Kong has reported a bumper first half loss and said it is seeking funding sources to remain viable.

Inside Asian Gaming reports that the company is looking for ways to navigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic after falling to another US$238.3 million loss for the six months to 30 June 2021.

The loss, while narrowed from a loss of US$742.6 million at the same period in 2020, reflects ongoing headwings for the company’s core cruise ship business, one of the hardest hit industries globally from the pandemic.

Despite finalising agreements with creditors in June that will see the company granted new loans and extensions to maturities around its US$2.6 billion of debt, Genting Hong Kong said in its first half results release that it continues to search out further funding opportunities.

“The company’s financial results remain heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the extent of the losses will depend on many factors, including the timing of the full return to service of its cruise fleet,” it said.

“The company continues to seek new sources of funding in view of the uncertainties in the recovery.”

Genting Hong Kong reported a decline in first half revenue to US$182.3 million, down from US$226.2 million in 2020 due to the suspension of Crystal Cruises and Star Cruises operations from early 2020.

However, the resumption of cruising in Taiwan and Singapore at various times helped reduce the group’s loss to US$171.2 million.

Staying positive, Genting Hong Kong cited a Cruise Ships in Service Report which said around 50 per cent of the global cruise fleet is expected to be back in service by the end of August 2021.

The company, which has recently resumed sailings from Singapore to Hong Kong, is planning to relaunch Explorer Dream in Taiwan from September, having suspended operations for a second time in May.

Macau casinos in the spotlight for Hong Kong-based money laundering ring

Customs officers in Hong Kong have smashed a suspected money laundering ring and arrested five men involved in the transportation of US$21.8 million across the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.

According to a statement released by the Hong Kong government in late August, five men aged between 40 and 43 were arrested between 19 and 23 August for conspiring to “deal with property known or reasonably believed to represent proceeds of an indictable offence” and for contravening the Cross-boundary Movement of Physical Currency and Bearer Negotiable Instruments Ordinance.

Three of the men are said to be cross-boundary drivers and two “money changers”.

A report states that some of the funds were likely laundered through Macau casinos.

The suspected money laundering syndicate was first detected in May, the government said, with the drivers completing a total of 17 runs across the bridge in the months since and carrying up to US$3.5 million at a time.

Two of the drivers were arrested as they returned to Hong Kong with a combined US$2.6 million in their vehicles.

Authorities said they are currently being assisted by counterparts in both Macau and Zhuhai and that more arrests could be made in the coming weeks.

The source of the original funds also remains under investigation but is believed to be the proceeds of crime.

“It is the first time Hong Kong customs has broken up a money laundering racket that was involved in bulk cash smuggling operations and the use of cross-border drivers,” Senior Superintendent Mark Woo Wai-kwan said.

The government said the maximum penalty for knowingly dealing with criminal proceeds is a fine of US$640,000 and 14 years in prison.

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