Frankly Speaking: Genting Hong Kong’s revival looks remote

This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on June 20, 2022 - June 26, 2022.
Frankly Speaking: Genting Hong Kong’s revival looks remote
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Six months after the collapse of Genting Hong Kong Ltd, tycoon Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay is taking to the high seas again.

Resorts World Cruises, a Singapore-based company he controls, launched its maiden voyage last Wednesday. Genting Dream, which has a capacity of 3,348 passengers, set sail on a cruise to nowhere at 50% capacity.

Genting Dream was one of the three cruise ships under the Dream Cruises fleet of Genting Hong Kong. Resorts World Cruises is leasing Genting Dream from its owners, which are four banks in China.

The Dream cruise ships were supposed to lead Genting Hong Kong’s charge in offering a new experience for cruise line passengers in Asia and some parts of Europe.

Towards this end, Lim even purchased a shipyard in Germany in 2016 and commissioned the construction of two large vessels under the Dream cruises brand. The two vessels were slated to be the largest cruise liners in the world, accommodating up to 11,000 people each.

However, Genting Hong Kong reeled under debts of US$2.7 billion during the pandemic. It could not hold on to the shipyards and, eventually, Lim placed Genting Hong Kong under voluntary provisional liquidation in February.

It was to facilitate an orderly restructuring and possible revival of Genting Hong Kong.

However, a string of developments in recent months seems to suggest that the revival of Genting Hong Kong is remote. The latest is Lim returning to the cruise business with an entirely new company. Resorts World Cruises allows Lim to start a cruise business again at a lower cost. So would he still be motivated to revive Genting Hong Kong and take on its remaining debts?

The restructuring so far has essentially been more of asset disposal at cheap prices than anything else.

Genting Hong Kong, which is 75% owned by the Lim family, is still suspended and has until July next year to firm up its restructuring plan. But is there anything left in the company that is worth salvaging?

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