Genting Singapore hotly traded after anti-IR candidate wins Yokohama mayor race

Genting's shares were trading 80 cents at 11.30am after falling more than 2 per cent to 78 cents in the morning. PHOTO: RWSENTOSA/INSTAGRAM

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Shares of Genting Singapore were heavily traded on Monday (Aug 23) following news that Mr Takeharu Yamanaka, who campaigned against the Japanese government's casino plans to boost the economy, had won Yokohama City's mayoral election on Sunday.

Genting's shares were trading at 80 cents at 11.30am after falling more than 2 per cent to 78 cents in the morning.

Voters chose Mr Yamanaka from a field of eight candidates. The former professor of health data science at Yokohama City University had campaigned on a platform that was against integrated resorts (IRs).

In June, Genting led a consortium of Japanese corporates, including entertainment heavyweight Sega Sammy Holdings, in submitting a bid in response to a request for an IR proposal by the Yokohama City.

That proposal will "almost certainly be shelved" following Mr Yamanaka's electoral win, according to Maybank Kim Eng.

The research house has downgraded its call on Genting Singapore from "buy" to "hold", citing Mr Yamanaka's statement that he was "completely opposed to an IR bid and will immediately withdraw". Its price target was lowered to 86 cents from $1.16 before.

"Though we still opine that the Genting Singapore-Sega Sammy joint venture was in the strongest position to win a Yokohama IR licence, it is likely all academic now," said analyst Yin Shao Yang in a report on Sunday.

"In any case, our previous recommendation on Genting Singapore was as a tactical 'buy'. In our view, there was little downside risk as we gathered that the market had not imputed any upside potential from a Yokohama IR," he added.

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