KUALA LUMPUR Feb 27 Malaysian-based gaming-to-plantations conglomerate Genting Bhd, which controls one of the world's most profitable casinos in Singapore, reported a 80.5 percent drop in fourth quarter net profit.
The sharp drop partly reflected an inflated figure a year earlier due to profits from the sale of two power plants.
The group, controlled by the Lim family, one of the most powerful families in Malaysian business, has also been spending heavily to aggressively expand in the United States and South Korea.
It said it was interested in eventual opportunities in Japan, which is preparing to allow casinos to open up and could potentially become the world's second-biggest gaming market, worth $15 billion a year, analysts say.
Genting said its fourth-quarter net profit to December dropped to 483.83 million ringgit ($147.96 million) from 2.48 billion ringgit in the same quarter a year earlier. Revenue rose 3.8 percent year-on-year.
Excluding the impact of the power plant sales in the fourth quarter of 2012, Genting would have recorded a 7.4 percent decline in net profit year on year for the fourth quarter of 2013.
The group said earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell as a result of a drop in profits at its Singapore gaming operations and due to the start-up of leisure and hospitality interests in the United States.
Full-year profit was the lowest in four years at 1.81 billion ringgit, down 54.6 percent from a year earlier and missing the 2.1 billion ringgit estimated by 20 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters SmartEstimate.
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 risen 10 percent in the past year, supported by the group's expansion plans and improving results from its plantations and Malaysian operations, but lagged a 12.2 percent rise in the Kuala Lumpur benchmark index over that period. ($1 = 3.2700 Malaysian ringgit) (Reporting by Niluksi Koswanage and Yantoultra Ngui; Additional reporting by Patturaja Murugaboopathy in BANGALORE; Editing by Susan Fenton)