Sentosa Island has certainly changed from the quiet island off Singapore that I remember visiting as a small child – and that’s largely due to a company called Genting Singapore Plc. (SGX: G13). The investment holding firm is one of Singapore’s largest companies by market capitalisation and is part of the Genting Group, which specialises in the development and operation of large integrated resorts and casinos. It has interests all over Asia Pacific and Europe, but its flagship project is our very own Resorts World Sentosa (RWS). Built at a cost of S$7bn and taking 34 months…
The investment holding firm is one of Singapore’s largest companies by market capitalisation and is part of the Genting Group, which specialises in the development and operation of large integrated resorts and casinos.
It has interests all over Asia Pacific and Europe, but its flagship project is our very own Resorts World Sentosa (RWS). Built at a cost of S$7bn and taking 34 months to complete, RWS is well known as an integrated resort, home to a convention centre, museum, spa, restaurants, retail outlets, a casino and theatre, Singapore’s Hard Rock Hotel and even a Universal Studios theme park, to name but a few attractions.
But did you know…
- Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong, founder of the Genting Group, was a contractor from China who, aged 19, arrived penniless in Malaya. Despite starting out as a carpenter, he eventually established his own construction company and became a successful contractor, responsible for numerous public infrastructure projects such as Penang’s RM12 million Ayer Itam Dam and the RM54 million Kemubu Irrigation System.
- In 1964, he was inspired to create a highland resort near Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) so that everyone could enjoy the cool mountain air. He obtained the rights to begin the mammoth task of creating an access road to the peak of Gunung Uli Kali in Genting Highlands – a mountain peak with a maximum elevation of 1,860m (6,100 feet).
The road took three years to complete and in 1971, the first hotel in the new Genting Highlands Resort was opened.
- Genting Highlands has the only legal, land-based casino in Malaysia.
- Resorts World Sentosa’s S.E.A. Aquarium is the world’s largest Oceanarium. It houses 100k marine mammals of over 800 species in 45 million litres of water, many of which can be seen through the world’s largest viewing panel, at 36m wide by 8.3m tall.
- Sentosa Island was formerly known by the Malay name Pulau Belakang Mati (meaning “dead back island” or “death island”). One possible explanation is that it was due to a deadly fever, which swept the island in the 1840s, almost wiping out its inhabitants (later identified as malaria).
A contest held in 1972, renamed the island to the prettier Sentosa, meaning “peace and tranquillity”. However, due to a lack of interesting tourist attractions the name was said locally to stand for: So Expensive and Nothing TO See Also.
Genting Singapore, while priding itself on running one of South East Asia’s largest entertainment resorts, is of course a company involved in gambling – making it a sin stock that won’t appeal to everyone. And it’s the gaming that’s making the majority of its money – while RWS welcomed 16m visitors last year, it was the casino alone that generated 80% of the S$2.95bn revenue made by Genting Singapore in 2012.
Genting may also not be a dream stock for dividend investors – its currently offering a disappointing dividend yield of just 0.7%.
Future plans for Genting Singapore include a new hotel in the up-and-coming Jurong Lake area, slated to open in the first half of 2015.
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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Alison Hunt doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.