A day after Melco Crown Entertainment Limited unveiled its proposed plans for a casino in the city of Osaka and Asian gambling rival Genting Singapore has reportedly declared that it has “sufficient financial resources” and is “well placed” to build an integrated casino resort in Japan.

After passing enabling legislation in December, Japanese lawmakers are expected to award up to three integrated casino resort licenses for disparate areas of the nation in 2018 with Kuala Lumpur-based Genting Singapore making its declaration as part of its financial report for the whole of 2016 and three months to the end of December.

“We continue to track the progress of the integrated resorts execution bill that will pave the way for the formal bidding process for a Japan gaming license,” read a statement from Singapore-listed Genting Singapore. “The group has sufficient financial resources and is well placed to bid for this opportunity. The group has completed a study of our capital structure and over the next three years will execute a corporate finance strategy that fulfils our various investment requirements including integrated resort projects while maintaining an efficient capital funding model.”

Genting Singapore additionally stated as part of its financial report that it is continuing to adopt a measured approach to its VIP gambling business due to the “difficult Asian gaming market” and “ongoing uncertainty in the macro-economic and political environment” but had seen “impairment of receivables” related to this segment reduced due to a recalibration of its “credit policies” and a remodeling of its “commission structure”.

“We have seen our profit margins improve in this segment,” read the statement from Genting Singapore. “Coupled with our marketing focus on growing regional premium mass business, we are optimistic in delivering sustainable earnings growth. However, with the uncertain global political setting and its attendant effect that creates a volatile exchange rate regime, our marketing programs may be negatively impacted.”

The firm behind the $4.6 billion Resorts World Sentosa development, Genting Singapore reportedly told TA Securities Holdings Berhad analyst Tan Kam Meng that building an integrated casino resort in Japan is expected to cost $7 billion to $12 billion with the land alone set to run to as much as $3 billion.

“Sitting on a cash pile of $3.5 billion and borrowings of $2.4 billion where the bulk of the borrowings are perpetual securities [at] 67%, Genting Singapore is in a good financial position in contending for a casino license in Japan,” wrote Tan. “According to management, a project internal rate of return of between 10% and 15% is required, considering all factors including political risks. Management also hinted that the project is still viable even without a controlling stake in the joint venture but it will be infeasible with a stake as small as 10%.”

For the three months to December 31, Genting Singapore explained that its overall revenues had risen by 2% year-on-year to $396.09 million while its gross profit of $149.87 million was a 43% improvement on the $104.84 million reported for the same period in 2015. All of this saw the firm record a fourth-quarter net profit of $134.2 million, which was considerably up on last year’s $15.6 million, while its total assets minus liabilities stood at approximately $7.68 billion.

However, the company’s performance over the whole of 2016 was not as impressive as overall revenues hit $1.58 billion, which was a decline of 7% year-on-year, with its gross profit falling by 0.4% to stand at $498.75 million although its annual net profit of $273.15 million represented an improvement of some 99% over 2015’s figure.

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