U.S. News

Star Cruises to Withdraw from Singapore Casino


Genting International said sister firm Star Cruises would withdraw from a $3.4 billion
Singapore casino venture, leaving the gaming company in full control.

Continuing its attempts to placate Singapore authorities unhappy about its links with Macau gambling tycoon Stanley Ho, Genting International said it planned to buy Star Cruises' 25% stake.

Star Cruises and Genting International are both controlled by Malaysia's Lim family through the Kuala Lumpur-listed gaming group Genting.

On Saturday, Genting International said it would divest its share in a proposed partnership with Ho to give Star Cruises the entire 75% stake in a Macau hotel casino to be run by him. A previous deal had given a group of investors including Ho a 6.99% stake in Star Cruises.

Both moves are part of an anticipated unraveling of the two firms' tie-up with Ho. which had upset Singapore authorities.

On Tuesday, Singapore's casino regulator said that Genting International and Star Cruises -- which won approval to build a casino resort in the city-state in December -- would be subject to "suitability checks," along with their business associates, before being awarded a casino license.

Star Cruises' move to relinquish its stake in the Singapore project will allow it to focus on Macau, where casino revenues amounted to $7 billion last year, surpassing those generated along the Las Vegas Strip.

Ho, one of the world's richest men, had a monopoly on casino gambling in Macau for nearly four decades until it was opened up to other players in 2002. Genting International said it had hired brokerage firm CIMB-GK Securities as its financial adviser.