Genting’s recovery hinges on travel ban being lifted

For Genting Bhd to turn around, Kenanga Research said, it largely depends on how soon Genting’s 53%-owned indirect subsidiary, Genting Singapore Ltd, makes its full earnings recovery.(File pic shows Genting Singapore casino)

PETALING JAYA: While Genting Bhd remains mired in losses against the backdrop of travel restrictions in its key operating markets, analysts believe the casino operator’s outlook is set to improve as more countries began to vaccinate their population en masse.

For the conglomerate to stage a turnaround, Kenanga Research said it largely depends on how soon Genting’s 53%-owned indirect subsidiary, Genting Singapore Ltd, makes its full earnings recovery.

“In view of the fairly stable pandemic situation in Singapore as opposed to Malaysia, the United Kingdom and United States, Genting Singapore is expected to take the driver seat of earnings recovery for the group, ” it said.

At the moment, Kenanga Research acknowledged that Genting Singapore is still half way from a full recovery, judging from its financial results in the second half of financial year 2020 (2H20).

However, the research house believes that the owner of Resorts World Sentosa would recover quickly once travelling restrictions are lifted.

“The management (of Genting Singapore) remains cautious given the limited local market size to grow the business.

“Unless cross border restrictions especially for leisure travelling is lifted, a full recovery is unlikely in the near term, ” it said.

In 2H20, Genting Singapore turned around with a core profit of S$186.9mil as compared to a loss of S$63.3mil in 1H20.

However, on a year-on-year basis, core profits in 2H20 plummeted by 50%, primarily due to the pandemic.

Kenanga Research has upgraded Genting Bhd’s earnings forecast for FY20 by 41%, after factoring in Genting Singapore’s recovery in 2H20.

“But, (we) trimmed FY21 earnings by 4% as we cut Genting Malaysia Bhd’s earnings by 22% with unchanged Genting Singapore’s estimates, ” it said in a note.

Kenanga Research reiterated an “outperform” view on Genting Bhd, with a slightly higher target price of RM5.80 per share.

Meanwhile, TA Securities Research has also maintained its “buy” call on Genting Bhd, but left its target price unchanged at RM5.67.

TA Securities Research has previously picked Genting Bhd as one of its preferred recovery plays for 2021.

“With regards to Genting Bhd, considering the 2020 opening price of RM5.92 and year-low of RM2.91, we opine that there is room for the share price to recover further when the Covid-19 cases in Malaysia are under control, ” it said.

The research house did not make any change to Genting Bhd’s FY20-22 earnings estimates.

Commenting on Genting Singapore’s results for FY20, TA Securities Research said the profit after tax has beaten consensus estimates by 35%, mainly due to lower-than-expected cost of operations.

“More importantly, Genting Singapore has recorded positive earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation for the second consecutive quarter since the operational disruptions, ” it said.

However, the research house pointed out that the recovery seen in 2H20 for Genting Singapore’s non-gaming operations may not be repeating this year.

This is because the company’s management is pessimistic on whether government subsidies, which helped to shore up 2H20 earnings, will continue into 2021.

“With regards to RWS 2.0, this expansion plan would return to the redesigning stage, thereby causing delays in openings.

“According to the management, no change to the S$4.5bil capital expenditure commitment but the redesigning is necessary to reassess its future target customers, taking into account China’s crackdown on cross-border gambling against Chinese citizens, ” according to TA Securities Research.

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