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Malaysian tycoon behind Genting Hong Kong puts fortune on the line, raising risk of a margin call

Bloomberg8/20/2020 08:35 PM GMT+08  • 3 min read
Malaysian tycoon behind Genting Hong Kong puts fortune on the line, raising risk of a margin call
Pledging shares is not unusual, especially in Asia, where high-growth companies are more common and tycoons often turn to lenders and other financial-services firms that offer cash in exchange for committed stock.
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Malaysian tycoon Lim Kok Thay has pledged nearly his entire stake in embattled cruise operator Genting Hong Kong Ltd. as collateral for loans, raising the risk of a margin call after the stock plunged 38% on Thursday.

The record selloff came after the company said it suspended all payments to creditors in a bid to maintain its critical services. The stock has now lost almost two-thirds of its value since December, and that’s only part of Lim’s sinking empire amid the Covid-19 crisis. His casino-to-hospitality conglomerate Genting Bhd. and its units had their first-ever group-wide salary reductions earlier this year, and his Genting Malaysia Bhd. said in June it was cutting thousands of jobs.

Lim has been pledging more of his holdings as the shares have plunged. Almost all of his 76% stake in Genting Hong Kong is now committed -- or 6 billion shares, according to a stock exchange filing at the end of last month -- up from 5.5 billion shares in April. As of March, he had pledged 550 million of his Genting Bhd. shares -- or 32% of his holdings -- up from 70 million a year earlier, according to the company’s annual reports.

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