KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 28): Genting Malaysia Bhd is reported to have told attendees at the casino and hotel operator’s pre-opening preview for the group’s estimated US$800 million (about RM3.2 billion) Genting SkyWorlds that the outdoor theme park is finally scheduled to open its doors to the public in February 2022 in time for the peak season during the Chinese New Year, which starts on Tuesday (Feb 1).

Public Investment Bank Bhd analyst Eltricia Foong, who attended Genting SkyWorlds' sneak peek, wrote in a note on Friday that "after multiple delays” due to Covid-19 pandemic-driven disruptions, "the wait is almost over" as the theme park is finally scheduled to open its doors to the public in February 2022.

"We attended the pre-opening preview of Genting Malaysia’s outdoor theme park Genting SkyWorlds.

"We view this (Genting SkyWorlds’ opening) positively as this should mark a gradual return to normalcy after numerous disruptions due to the [Covid-19] pandemic.

"We are forecasting Genting Malaysia to turn profitable this year after two years of setbacks. While we do not expect profit to revert to pre-pandemic levels in FY22F, we believe there are limited earnings risks as full lockdown is not likely to be re-introduced, considering the high vaccination rate achieved,” Foong said.

She said Public Investment Bank has upgraded Genting Malaysia shares to "outperform" with an unchanged target price of RM3.25.

According to Foong, Genting SkyWorlds is touted to be Southeast Asia’s most-anticipated theme park, spanning across an area of about 26 acres (about 10.4ha) with 26 rides and attractions. 

“[Genting Malaysia operating unit] Resorts World Genting (RWG) has invested [about] US$800 million or RM3.2 billion into the theme park.

"As international borders are likely to remain shut in the near term, RWG will be focusing on the local market in driving visitorship, perhaps in the next six months. 

"We estimate visitor arrivals to increase to 23 million and 27 million people in FY22F (ending Dec 31) and FY23F respectively, recovering from a low of 12.7 million in FY20. Prior to the pandemic, RWG’s visitor arrivals hit 29 million people in FY19," she said.

At Bursa Malaysia’s 12:30pm break on Friday, Genting Malaysia’s share price settled up three sen or 1.1% at RM2.76 for a market value of about RM15.59 billion.

Genting Malaysia has 5.65 billion issued shares, according to its latest quarterly financial report.

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