Genting’s monorail talks roll on, separate from Genting Hong Kong’s cruise-ship woes

·3 min read

They shared a chairman and a major shareholder, but the Genting entity at the center of Miami-Dade County’s monorail talks expects no complications from the liquidation of a separate Genting company facing so many financial strains there’s a court order to seize one of its cruise ships.

Genting Hong Kong is the failed company preparing to liquidate after running out of cash during the turmoil that washed over the global cruise industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of its assets, the “fugitive” Crystal Symphony cruise ship, is idling off Bimini rather than heading to Miami, where U.S. marshals are prepared to seize it with a warrant issued by a federal judge over unpaid fuel bills.

Until last week, Genting Hong Kong had the same CEO, Lim Kok Thay, as Genting Berhad, the casino company his family founded in Malaysia whose holdings include the chain of Resorts World casinos.

Resorts World also owns the Miami waterfront land where the company and partners in 2020 proposed building a station for a monorail line to Miami Beach they would operate in exchange for $60 million a year from the county.

Lim resigned from Genting Hong Kong Jan. 21 but remains CEO of Genting Berhad, the conglomerate at the center of a transit project that could have privately run trains linking Miami with Miami Beach over Biscayne Bay. A Genting Berhad subsidiary, Genting Malaysia, owns Resort World.

Representatives for the monorail partnership — a group that includes Paris-based investment firm Meridiam — say there is no exposure from Genting Hong Kong’s liquidation.

“Genting Hong Kongs’s (and its subsidiaries’) operations have no impact — financial or otherwise — on Resorts World Miami or on the Monorail project,” Damien Kolosky, senior investment director at Meridiam, said in an email to county administrators on Tuesday. “Genting Hong Kong is a public company that is not a subsidiary nor an entity of Genting Malaysia Berhad or its Resort World properties.”

Both Crystal Cruises and Resorts World operate Miami offices on the same floor of the Genting Berhad-owned complex off of Biscayne Boulevard that includes a Hilton hotel and a commercial center that used to be the Omni mall.

It was on a Crystal cruise ship in Hong Kong nearly four years ago where Lim hosted then-Mayor Carlos Gimenez and county commissioners to discuss Genting Berhad’s interest in proposing a transit line to connect Miami Beach with its planned resort in Miami. About a year after that 2018 meeting in Hong Kong, Genting and partners filed a proposal that became the basis for a county bidding process.

The competitive process ended with only one bid submitted for a county project expected to cost at least $585 million to build, according to a financial outline Genting and partners filed with the county in 2020.

For now, Genting and partners are in negotiations with the administration of Mayor Daniella Levine Cava for a development deal that would need approval by the county commission.

An interim agreement to develop site plans for the transit line that the commission endorsed in the fall of 2020 expires this spring but can be extended another six months.

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