Genting likely to still work on terminated theme park

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December 4, 2018, Tuesday

By Sharon Kong,

AffinHwang Capital believes that Genting Malaysia will still work on the outdoor theme park, although management did not provide any colour on its plan for the outdoor theme park due to the impending law suit against Fox and Disney.

KUCHING: Genting Malaysia Bhd (Genting Malaysia) will likely still work on the recently terminated Disney-Fox theme park, analysts project, despite the management not providing any details on the group’s plan.

Affin Hwang Investment Bank Bhd (AffinHwang Capital) believed that Genting Malaysia will still work on the outdoor theme park, although management did not provide any colour on its plan for the outdoor theme park due to the impending law suit against Fox and Disney.

However, AffinHwang Capital projected that the opening date is likely to be delayed beyond the planned first half of 2019 (1H19).

“As such we have lowered our visitation rate forecast, with the assumption that an outdoor theme park will open its doors in 2020,” the research firm said.

“In our view, even without a branded theme park, visitation growth is still sustainable, albeit not as strong as previously forecasted.

“As an indication, prior to the refurbishment, the ‘old’ theme park managed to attract circa two million to 2.5 million visitors a year.

“Overall visitation for the first nine months of 2018 (9M18) is up 14 per cent year on year (y-o-y), even without the presence of the outdoor theme park.”

Meanwhile, the research arm of Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd (Kenanga Research) highlighted that since the Budget 2019 announcement in early November, the share price of Genting Malaysia had tanked 37 per cent and it is likely to slide further today as the RM1.83 billion impairment is negative for sentiment.

According to Kenanga Research, the fall in share prices started when the casino operator was slapped with 10 per cent hike in casino duties during the announcement of Budget 2019, then the news of unexpected termination of Twentieth Fox Theme Park last week, which pushed the share price to multi-year lows.

“Although the impairment is one-off, we believe this will impact the already fragile sentiment further,” the research arm said.

AffinHwang Capital noted that management did not provide any guidance on earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) margins after the upcoming gaming tax hike, but did allude that current 9M18 margins of 35 per cent are unsustainable.

“Genting Malaysia will likely have to undergo a cost rationalisation program to lower its costs, while seeking a balance between margins and volume,” the research firm further noted.

“Thus, we are lowering our margin assumptions for 2019-2020E to 28 per cent (from 32 per cent), as we believe Genting Malaysia will need to sacrifice margins to remain competitive in the VIP segment. The government has raised the gaming tax on net wins to 35 per cent (from 25 per cent) from January 1, 2019.”

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