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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Genting plans to build ‘Resorts World’ in Florida

PETALING JAYA: Genting Malaysia Bhd plans to build “Resorts World Miami” in Florida after buying a 13.9-acre land for some US$236mil from a US newspaper publisher, The McClatchy Co.

The company told Bursa Malaysia yesterday that its subsidiary, Bayfront 2011 Property LLC purchased the land, which includes a building currently housing The Miami Herald Media Co and an adjacent parking lot, with plans of building a mixed-use development.

Genting Malaysia said it was working towards developing a comprehensive master plan for the project called “Resorts World Miami”, which will include hotel, convention, entertainment, restaurant, retail, residential and commercial facilities.

The project aims to capitalise on Miami’s standing as one of the world’s leading tourism hubs.

“The acquisition involves large prime freehold waterfront properties facing the scenic Biscayne Bay. Located in downtown Miami, the properties are close to commercial, residential and shopping areas and are bordered by an extensive road network linking to Miami International Airport and South Beach, one of the world’s top beach destinations,” the company said.

The land is located directly across the street from the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, which is among America’s largest performing arts centres. Miami’s new Museum Park development, the future home of Miami Art Museum and Miami Science Museum, is located immediately to the south.

Genting Malaysia is looking to fund the purchase through bank borrowings and internally-generated funds. It said that bank borrowings of US$200mil to partly fund the purchase, Genting Malaysia’s consolidated gearing ratio of 8.3% as at Dec 31 will increase to 12.4%, on a proforma basis.

“Resorts World Miami will be a landmark mixed-use development for Miami, Florida and the United States,” Genting Malaysia chairman and chief executive Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay said.

“Downtown Miami has experienced dramatic residential and commercial growth in recent years, and we believe the addition of a large-scale mixed-use and entertainment complex will be a welcomed addition, further elevating the area’s status as a global destination.”

Genting Malaysia said it was seeking to expand internationally in the leisure, hospitality and entertainment industry. The envisioned Resorts World Miami represents Genting Malaysia’s second venture in the US, after Resorts World New York at the historic Aqueduct Racetrack in the City of New York.

The seller of the land is the third-largest newspaper publisher in the US and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. It is also the parent company of Miami Herald.

An analyst said based on the little information provided from the announcement said he was netural on the deal.

“It seems cheap, considering that they are buying at a property down cycle in the US and that this is prime property.”

However, he added, that it is not clear if Genting would be issued with a gaming licence. “If a casino is in the plans, then the move is a good one, considering that Miami is a top tourist site. But let’s see the details.”

By The Star

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