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Village Roadshow sells Wet’n'Wild Sydney to Spanish attractions operator
Village Roadshow has offloaded its Wet'n'Wild Sydney waterpark to Spanish attractions operator Parques Reunidos for a reported up-front purchase price of $40 million.
Agreed as of last Friday, the deal will see Parques Reunidos take ownership of the reportedly struggling Western Sydney waterpark in exchange for a $40 million payment in the first quarter of the 2019 financial year. There will also be a variable compensation based on the waterpark's revenue up to 30th June 2020.
The sale sees Parques Reunidos, the fifth largest theme park operator in the world, make their first foray into the Australian market, with Wet'n'Wild Sydney joining more than 20 waterparks that the group operates around the world.
Parques Reunidos also own and operate a range of theme parks and zoos including major USA theme parks like Kennywood, Parque Warner Madrid (formerly Warner Bros. Movie World), and Movie Park Germany (formerly Warner Bros. Movie World Germany) – the latter two attractions originally being modelled after the Village’s Warner Bros. Movie World on the Gold Coast.
Village Roadshow opened Wet'n'Wild Sydney in 2013 at an estimated cost of over $125 million. Seen as a pattern for the development of waterparks across Asia by Village Roadshow, Wet'n'Wild Sydney has been beset by design, capacity and operational problems since its opening.
While the waterpark performed well in its first season, since then visitor numbers have not been as good as anticipated, underlining the difficulty of operating attractions in the Sydney visitor market.
Village Roadshow previously operated the Sydney Attractions Group - which included the Sydney Aquarium and Sydney Tower Eye - between 2008 and 2011, before selling the business to Merlin Entertainments.
The shedding of Wet'n'Wild Sydney follows Village Roadshow selling the 154 hectare site where its Gold Coast theme parks Movie World and Wet'n'Wild sit to LGIAsuper for $100 million at the end of last year.
The proceeds of both sales are being used to reduce debt.
With Village having opened the Wet‘n’Wild Haikou waterpark on the Chinese island of Hainan at the end of April, the sale of the Sydney waterpark may indicate that the company will look to Asia for future developments.
Commenting on the sale, Village Roadshow says the Spanish group's experience in the sector “will be able to add value and enhance Wet'n'Wild Sydney's performance over the coming years”.
Wet'n'Wild Sydney's earnings dropped 66% to $3.1 million in the year to 30th June 2017, from $9 million the preceding year due to a fall in season pass sales and attendance levels.
The company blamed wet weather and the negative consumer sentiment in the wake of four fatalities at Gold Coast theme park Dreamworld in October 2016 for the downturn.
Earlier this year, Village Roadshow revealed that the tragedy continued to impact on its Sydney business.
A presentation to the market in February explained how the tragedy was “shaking the confidence” of mums taking their children on rides.
The presentation also advised "Sydney Wet 'n' Wild sells on thrill, however (the) Dreamworld tragedy impact was summed up by one local's comment 'those big towers gave me the 'heebie geebies'.”
While at that time Village Roadshow was confident of a broader recovery in the second half of FY18, the company announced in March that full-year results for its theme park division would fall below previous targets.
Jamberoo Action Park, Wet'n'Wild Sydney's main competitor, saw attendance grow in the 2016/17 season off the back of their $5 million investment in its 'The Perfect Storm' water ride.
Images courtesy of Wet'n'Wild Sydney.
17th February 2018 - VILLAGE ROADSHOW REVEALS ‘INCREDIBLY DISAPPOINTING’ RESULTS FOR WET’N'WILD SYDNEY
13th January 2018 - WET’N’WILD SYDNEY PRESENTS SUMMER TIME MOTOCROSS THRILLS
29th November 2017 - VILLAGE ROADSHOW MOVES AWAY FROM LOW COST THEME PARK PASSES
19th September 2017 - VILLAGE ROADSHOW TO INSTALL ACCESSO PASSPORT TICKETING SUITE AT KEY ATTRACTIONS
21st August 2017 - JAMBEROO ACTION ANNOUNCES SUMMER SEASON OPENING PLANS
14th March 2017 - VILLAGE ROADSHOW THEME PARKS HIGHLIGHTS SAFETY AND MAINTENANCE SYSTEMS
19th September 2016 - JAMBEROO ACTION PARK TO BE HIT BY THE PERFECT STORM
25th September 2015 - WET’N’WILD SYDNEY NOW OPEN FOR ITS THIRD SEASON
18th September 2015 - JAMBEROO ACTION PARK ACHIEVES WORLD RECORD FOR AUSTRALIA’S NEWEST ‘BIG THING’
25th August 2015 - WEATHER HITS VILLAGE ROADSHOW PROFITS
4th April 2014 - VILLAGE ROADSHOW ADVANCES PLANS FOR ASIAN THEME AND WATER PARKS
9th May 2008 - VILLAGE BUYS KELLY TARLTON’S
20th February 2008 - VILLAGE TO ACQUIRE SYDNEY ATTRACTIONS GROUP
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