Berjaya mulls Singapore listing of unit, seeks casino ventures

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SINGAPORE (Oct 29): Berjaya Corp. ( Financial Dashboard) is considering selling shares in a unit in Singapore and seeking joint ventures in casinos in North Asia as the Malaysian conglomerate expands outside its home market.

Listing its environment services division will spur growth in the business, without depending on funds from the parent, founder Vincent Tan said in an interview in Singapore today. Berjaya’s interests range from shopping malls to lotteries, and it’s looking for a partner for a South Korea gaming project and wants to join a consortium in Japan should it legalize casinos.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sees casinos as a way to bolster the economy as backers of a bill to permit them say gambling resorts would boost tourism. Casino operators are considering investing billions of dollars in what could become Asia’s second-largest gaming hub after Macau.

Casinos are “no longer a very lucrative business unless you go to some countries like Japan,” Tan, 62, said. “Lots of casinos still focus on high rollers but the mass market is still very big.”

Berjaya has 100 acres of land in Okinawa prefecture and it can be used for a gaming resort should the government decide to open one there, Tan said.

Kuala Lumpur-based Berjaya has spun off at least three units since the start of 2013, including convenience store operator 7-Eleven Malaysia Holdings Bhd. and Berjaya Auto Bhd. ( Financial Dashboard), a distributor of Mazda Motor Corp. vehicles and auto parts.

Its environment services division operates sanitary landfills in Malaysia and China, according to the company’s website. It was also granted a 25-year concession to develop and operate a wastewater treatment plant in China’s Guangdong province. Tan didn’t give a timeframe for the planned listing.

Tan, who holds a majority stake in Welsh soccer club Cardiff City, said he will invest in a Los Angeles-based Major League Soccer club, Channel NewsAsia reported today. The investment will be announced in the next couple of days, the report said.