Genting’s Founder Incorporates New Cruise Brand

world dream
World Dream (file image courtesy Genting HK)

Published Apr 21, 2022 10:58 PM by The Maritime Executive

Months after the financial collapse of Genting Hong Kong and its three cruise lines there is growing speculation that the billionaire founder and owner of the company is working to return to the cruise industry with a relaunched operation from his casino empire. The growth of Genting’s brands' Dream Cruises and Star Cruises was in part fueled by the company’s sister operations in Asian casinos.

Resorts World Cruises was set up as a new company in Singapore in March 2022. Genting owns the Resorts World brand and operates casino resorts under that brand name. According to research by the Straits Times newspaper in Singapore, the ownership of the new cruise company traces to another special purpose company set up by the billionaire Lim Kok Thay, who was also the chairman and CEO of Genting Hong Kong. He resigned from Genting Hong Kong in January 2022 when the company was placed into receivership through the courts in Bermuda, where it was incorporated.

Analysts had speculated that Lim - through another of his holding companies - might attempt to purchase Dream Cruises, which operated two recently-built 151,000 gross ton cruise ships, the World Dream and Genting Dream, as well as a third smaller cruise ship, the Explorer Dream. The World Dream and Genting Dream had been operating short casino resort-style cruises from Singapore and Hong Kong under the cities’ COVID restrictions as short escapes for residents.

Dream Cruises filed for provisional liquidation in January 2022 but the World Dream continued its cruises until the beginning of March. The ships, which were built in 2016 and 2017 by Meyer Werft in Germany, have both been kept in warm layup under the management of V Ships while the liquidators worked to sort out the finances of the company. The World Dream, which was arrested by the banks that hold the ship’s mortgage, will likely be put up for sale or possibly auctioned to satisfy the debt.

The new cruise company has several options with one possibility being acquiring the assets of Dream Cruises from the liquidator. The Genting Dream, however, was sold by the company in January 2020 and leased back from a consortium of four Chinese banks. The banks now control the ship which is laid up in Hong Kong. Resort World could attempt to set up a new lease deal with the banks.

The lawyers overseeing the sale of the assets of Genting’s shipyard company in Germany, MV Werften reported that they have also received interest from Genting or possibly the Lim group in acquiring the unfinished cruise ship Global Dream. They had said finding a solution for the cruise ship, which was designed for the Asian gambling market with large casinos would be one of the priorities for resolving the liquidation of MV Werften. So far, they have reached agreements for the sale of the Lloyd Werft, the design group Neptun Ship Design, which was sold to Meyer Group and FASSMER, and the smaller yard in Stralsund, Germany, which was acquired by the city.

The other assets of Genting Hong Kong, including the cruise ships operated by Star Cruises and Crystal Cruises, are reported to be for sale. They however are not likely of interest to Lim who is believed to be interested in the Asian resort cruise casino market.