KUALA LUMPUR May 29 (Reuters) - Malaysian-based conglomerate Genting Bhd, which controls one of the world's most profitable casinos in Singapore, reported a 25 percent rise in first-quarter net profit due to higher volumes in its gaming business.
Net profit climbed to 497.5 million Malaysian ringgit ($154.4 million) in the first quarter to March from 397.8 million ringgit in the same quarter a year earlier. Revenue rose 20 percent year-on-year.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose as a result of lower costs for its premium players business, which was slightly offset by higher staff costs.
The gaming-to-plantations group, controlled by the Lim family, one of the most powerful families in Malaysian business, has been spending heavily to expand aggressively in the United States and South Korea.
Genting will begin construction of a $4 billion gaming resort on the Las Vegas strip in the second half of this year, it said on May 8.
It is also interested in eventual opportunities in Japan, which is preparing to allow casinos to open up and has the potential to become the world's second-biggest gaming market, worth $15 billion a year.
Genting also has interests in property development and plantations and operates Asia's largest listed cruise operator. Genting Hong Kong.
The results were announced after the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange closed.
Genting shares have fallen 4.5 percent year to date, compared with an 0.5 percent rise in the Kuala Lumpur benchmark index over the same period.
($1 = 3.2225 Malaysian Ringgits) (Reporting By Yantoultra Ngui and Al-Zaquan Amer Hamzah; editing by Jane Baird)