Malaysia Genting says open to acquisitions

KUALA LUMPUR Tue May 26, 2009 8:31pm EDT

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KUALA LUMPUR May 27 (Reuters) - Malaysian gaming-to-plantations conglomerate Genting Bhd (GENT.KL) said it is constantly on the lookout for business opportunities, but declined to say if it is considering an investment in Las Vegas or Macau.

"The Group does not comment on investors' speculation but will make the necessary public announcements ... as and when appropriate," it said in reply to a query from the stock exchange operator Bursa Malaysia.

Genting shares have jumped 12.7 percent in the last week after it said last week that it and its unit Resorts World RWBW.KL have subscribed for a combined $100 million worth of notes issued by U.S. casino operator MGM Mirage (MGM.N).

The debt papers were part of MGM's US$1.5 billion fund-raising exercise to help settle its outstanding debts and for general corporate purposes.

At the same time, MGM was told by gambling regulators in New Jersey that Pansy Ho, the daughter of Macau gambling baron Stanley Ho, was not a suitable partner for its venture in Macau, and ordered the U.S. firm to "disengage" itself from any business dealings with the younger Ho.

Both events led to speculation that the Genting group's purchase of the MGM debt papers may pave the way for Genting to acquire a stake in MGM or take over the U.S. casino operator's investment in MGM Grand Macau.

Gaming revenue in the Chinese enclave of Macau has overtaken that of Las Vegas, and an investment in either markets could give Genting the international expansion it needs, analysts said.

Genting is expected to announce its first-quarter earnings tomorrow.

(Reporting by Julie Goh; editing by Liau Y-Sing)

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