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Khazanah to sell stakes in theme parks in the long run
 
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Khazanah to sell stakes in theme parks in the long run
Apr 24, 2012
KUALA LUMPUR: Themed Attractions & Resorts Sdn Bhd (TAR), a unit of Khazanah Nasional Bhd, will divest some or all of its investments in theme parks in the Klang Valley and Johor, says its chief.

TAR, which was given an initial RM2.3 billion until 2015 to develop parks and attractions, has a majority stake in KidZania and will also wholly-own five other soon-to-open attractions in Johor.

TAR chief executive officer Tunku Ahmad Burhanuddin said Khazanah would eventually dispose of its stakes in the projects.

“Khazanah took on those projects as they required big investments. But they have to be run commercially in order to be profitable, as we have to look at return on our investments.

“Eventually, we will look at how to unwind these attractions and get other investors to come in.”

Ahmad said the sales would be similar to many investments made by Khazanah, in which most were sold or the stake diluted.

“We may sell the entire stake or a partial stake. Khazanah may also decide to keep TAR, ISMAILwhich runs the parks, while selling the ownership,” he said.

In a recent interview with Business Times, Ahmad spoke of TAR’s various theme park projects due for completion by 2014 and the entrance fees that might be imposed.

“We are lifting the bar high (on the quality of parks). We have to develop and operate these attractions better than others in Malaysia and price them suitably. We want our visitors to leave thinking ‘wow, that was pretty good value for money’.”

He quoted Legoland, which will open at year end, as an example, saying that even for the Malaysian market, it was of an exceptional value.

A single entry has been set at RM110 per Malaysian adult and RM80 per child. The annual pass has been set at RM275 per adult and RM210 per child.

Legoland, a project by Iskandar Investment Bhd, will be managed by Merlin Entertainments.

What next for TAR?

“We are committed to Malaysian tourism and getting more tourists to come here. After that, we may consider going regional,” he said, adding that the experience it had gathered over the years would enable TAR to diversify into park management.

-- BUSINESS TIMES

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