The parent company of Crystal Cruises is in financial trouble

Aug 21, 2020

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The parent company of Crystal Cruises, one of the world’s best-known luxury lines, is in financial trouble.

Hong Kong-based Genting Hong Kong late Wednesday said it had stopped making payments to creditors as it contended with a sharp loss of revenue due to the coronavirus crisis.

The announcement came two days after the company missed a 3.7 million euro payment of fees related to the construction of certain ships.

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The payment was due from subsidiaries of the company related to new vessels, and the failure to pay the fees puts the subsidiaries into default, the company said.

The company said it hoped to negotiate a restructuring of its debt with creditors. The company owed creditors nearly $3.4 billion as of 31 July.

“The company’s remaining available cash will be reserved to maintain critical services for the group’s operations, while the company will endeavour to negotiate a holistic debt restructuring solution”, Genting Hong Kong said in a statement late Wednesday to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

The company did not say how much cash it still had available.

The 980-passenger Crystal Serenity will visit the Maldives in 2022 as part of an around-the-world voyage from Miami. (Photo courtesy of Crystal Cruises)
Genting Hong Kong is the parent company of Crystal Cruises, which operates some of the world’s best-known luxury ships. Here, the 980-passenger Crystal Serenity. (Photo courtesy of Crystal Cruises)

Genting Hong Kong is the parent company of Crystal Cruises as well as two Asia-based cruise lines: Dream Cruises and Star Cruises. It also owns the Werften shipyard in Germany, where the first expedition ship for Crystal Cruises currently is under construction. In addition, it’s a joint venture partner in Resorts World Manila in the Philippines.

In its statement, the company warned that its suspension of payments to creditors would likely result in the company being considered in default of multiple debt obligations.

“Such events of default would give rise to a right for requisite creditors of the group to declare that the financial indebtedness owed to them are immediately due and payable”, the company noted.

The company said it planned to call a meeting of creditors to discuss restructuring and refinancing options. It said it would ask creditors “to refrain from taking any enforcement action so that the stakeholders of the group can have a stable platform to negotiate and implement the restructuring”.

Related: Coronavirus crisis claims another small cruise line 

In its statement, the company said it had been trying to raise more money, but “there is currently a lack of certainty as to the outcome of the fundraising exercise.”

Analysts in Asia suggested Genting Hong Kong may try to sell assets, and a liquidation of the entire company was not out of the question.

“The financial stress may push the owner to sell the asset, or liquidate the entire firm”, CEB International Investment Corp. head of research Banny Lam told Bloomberg overnight.

Lam added that a liquidation of the company was not very likely.

Genting Hong Kong shares plunged nearly 38% in Thursday trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. They closed at just 30 Hong Kong cents — about 3p.

Crystal recently cancelled all sailings through early January 2021. The line hasn’t operated cruise departures since March, nor has Genting Hong Kong’s Star Cruises division. The company’s Dream Cruises brand has recently resumed short sailings out of Taiwan with a single vessel, the 1,856-passenger Explorer Dream. The voyages only are open to Taiwanese travellers.

Genting Hong Kong is majority-owned by Malaysian tycoon Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay.

Genting Hong Kong is a separate company to Genting Berhad, which owns Resorts World Las Vegas and other Resorts World properties in the U.S., Malaysia, Singapore, the U.K. and the Bahamas. But the two companies are tied together by Lim, who owns a controlling stake in both of them.

Lim is the chairman of both companies.

Featured image courtesy of Crystal Cruises 

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