Friday 01 Dec 2023
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KUALA LUMPUR (July 7): Casino giant Genting Bhd and its subsidiary Genting Malaysia Bhd (GenM) are both seen as vulnerable to a slowdown in China’s economy.

Citing Nomura Research on Thursday (June 6), industry magazine Inside Asian Gaming said Nomura analysts estimated that Chinese tourist numbers have climbed to no higher than 30% of pre-Covid levels in recent months.

The warning formed part of a research note examining the various impacts of China’s economic slowdown on Malaysia after Nomura’s China economist, Dr Ting Lu, recently lowered his gross domestic product growth forecast for China to 5.1% for 2023, down from 5.5%, and 3.9% in 2024, down from 4.2%.

The downgrade was due to the “worsening downward spiral of major activity data and Beijing’s tepid response to date”, Dr Lu said in his June update.

Meanwhile, in a Wednesday note, Nomura’s Tushar Mohata and Alpa Aggarwal said a slowdown in China’s economic growth is likely to have a negative spillover effect on Malaysia's macroeconomics and stock markets through various channels, while a slow recovery in Chinese tourists to Malaysia is also likely to dent the recovery and earnings growth prospects of “reopening-theme” stocks, including both Genting and GenM.

“Note that 3.1 million Chinese tourists visited Malaysia in 2019, and while data from Malaysia is not readily available, we think Chinese tourist numbers have not been more than 25% to 30% of the pre-Covid levels in the last couple of months,” they wrote.

“A slowdown and negative wealth-effects in China are likely to lead to missed tourist arrivals/earnings expectations for Asean casinos.

“Both Genting and Genting Malaysia are vulnerable. For Genting, Malaysia-Singaporean resorts account for 67% of FY2023 Ebitda estimates, and for Genting Malaysia, Malaysian resorts account for 70% of FY2023 Ebitda estimates.”

Nomura recently upgraded Genting to 'buy' due to significant market cap discounts. It also upgraded revenue estimates for GenM by 7% in 2023 and 2024, and its Ebitda estimates by 6% in 2023 and 8% in 2024.

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