May 29, 2008 / 10:37 AM / in 10 years

UPDATE 1-Malaysia's Genting Q1 net profit down 33 pct

(Adds outlook)

KUALA LUMPUR, May 29 (Reuters) - Malaysian leisure firm Genting Bhd (GENT.KL) reported on Thursday a 33 percent fall in first-quarter net profit due mainly to lower earnings from its UK casino business.

A slowing UK economy is likely to lead to a more cautious spending trend in the coming quarters, which could further impact earnings, said Genting.

“The Genting International management expects this to have an impact on disposable income and accordingly, the trading results of the UK operations,” Genting said.

The Malaysian conglomerate, through its Singapore-listed unit, Genting International GNTG.SI, operates 46 casinos in the UK.

Genting posted net profit of 439.4 million ringgit ($135.7 million) for the three months ended March, compared with 656.70 million a year earlier.

Genting owns Malaysia’s sole casino on Genting Highlands resort near the capital. It is also involved in hotel operations, oil palm plantations, power generation and the cruise business.

Reuters Estimates net profit consensus for Genting in 2008 is 1.6 billion ringgit, or 44.39 sen per share, on revenue of 8.86 billion ringgit.

Genting shares fell 17.1 percent in the first quarter, underperforming a drop of 13.7 percent in the benchmark Kuala Lumpur Composite Index . ($1=3.239 Malaysian Ringgit) (Reporting Soo Ai Peng and Faisal Aziz; Editing by Lincoln Feast)

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