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Genting Boosts Budget for Malaysia Resort Revamp to $1.5 Billion

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Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Genting Malaysia Bhd. plans to boost its budget upgrading its hilltop gaming resort in the Southeast Asian nation by 67 percent to 5 billion ringgit ($1.5 billion) after adding more features.

The company in partnership with Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. will also increase spending for its revamped theme park, which is part of the resort, to 1 billion ringgit to allow for better rides and attractions, Genting said in a statement. That is more than double 400 million ringgit originally flagged in July. Malaysia’s only casino operator plans to add hotel rooms, premium retail outlets, a new cable car station and show arena for 10,000 people, it said.

“We need to preserve our trans-generational appeal and maintain repeat visitation,” Genting Malaysia’s 62-year-old Chairman Lim Kok Thay said in a speech at the resort today.

His Genting group of companies are also expanding abroad, from the Bahamas to Manila, amid restrictions on opening more casinos on home soil, where Muslims are forbidden from gambling under Malaysia’s Shariah laws. He opened a casino at the Aqueduct Racetrack in New York last year, controls casino operators in the U.K., and operates Resorts World Sentosa, one of Singapore’s two gambling resorts.

Another resort is planned for Birmingham in the U.K. in mid-2015. Lim also opened a 750-acre beach front resort on the Bimini islands in the Bahamas in July as part of the group’s expansion in the Americas.

The revamped 25-acre (10.1-hectare) Malaysian theme park will be called Twentieth Century Fox World and the New York-based movie-maker’s first, featuring 25 rides and attractions of a cinematic nature, the companies said in a joint statement. They will feature brands from films including Ice Age, Rio, Alien and Night at the Museum, they said.

Harvard University-educated Lim is Malaysia’s third-richest man with a net worth of $7.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chong Pooi Koon in Kuala Lumpur at pchong17@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Barry Porter at bporter10@bloomberg.net; Stephanie Wong at swong139@bloomberg.net

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