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Village Roadshow sells Wet'n'Wild Phoenix and Hawaii

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VRL DIVESTS PHOENIX & HAWAII WATER PARKS

Village Roadshow Limited (“VRL”) announces that it has agreed to sell its wholly owned Wet ‘n’ Wild Water Park in Phoenix, Arizona to CNL Lifestyle Properties, Inc. (“CNL Lifestyle”), a real estate investment trust. Additionally, VRL will end its lease of the Wet ‘n’ Wild Hawaii property from CNL Lifestyle.

Net cash proceeds from the sales, after repayment of debt, will be approximately A$27 million. The sale price is close to the US dollar carrying value of the assets, however based on current exchange rates, VRL will recognise an exchange rate loss of approximately A$2 million upon repatriating the proceeds to Australia. The transaction is scheduled to complete by the end of November. Upon completion of the transaction, CNL Lifestyle will also acquire the US rights to the Wet ‘n’ Wild brand name.

VRL continues to hold its approximately 51% interest in Wet ‘n’ Wild Las Vegas, which opened in May 2013 and has had a successful first season of operation.

VRL considers that it is an appropriate time to divest its water park interests in the United States as VRL believes it would be difficult to achieve a significant presence in this market. The competitive pressure to acquire properties has been increasing with the upturn in the US economy, and VRL believes that management time and capital can be better focused in countries where the market is not yet mature, and higher returns possible.

VRL continues to examine opportunities for theme parks, including water parks, in Asia. VRL is currently developing a water park on Hainan Island, China in conjunction with the marine theme park under construction by R&F Properties. VRL will manage both of these attractions. VRL is also investigating other opportunities in South East Asia.

Wet ‘n’ Wild Sydney, VRL’s latest water park, is on schedule to open in December 2013. VRL is looking forward to the successful launch of one of the world’s biggest and best water theme parks, with over 40 slides and attractions.

http://www.villageroadshow.com.au/upload/Document/Phoenix%20Hawaii%20water%20park%20sale%20201113.pdf

Although not mentioned in the release, Village had actually sold off Wet'n'Wild Hawaii to CNL just one year after they bought it. They held the lease to operate the park up until this year. It seems the investment in the completely new park at Las Vegas this year has worked (instead of buying and renovating smaller parks). The park sold out of season passes and obviously can weather the "mature" water park market in the US.

The other interesting thing in the release was the ownership of the Wet'n'Wild brand in the US now lies with CNL. Provided CNL sticks with it long term, I guess this allows Village to remain with some sort of representation in the US. I'm thinking the recently acquired Soak City in Palm Springs (which is in need of a new name next year) will become the third Wet'n'Wild branded park owned by CNL.

So with the international focus shifting to Asia, I wonder where outside of the Hainan parks we might see Village explore?

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although expensive, and already with a large competitor, i'd like to see them branch out into Hong Kong and Singapore. Disney and Universal are already the big kids on the block there, but as has been seen, where Disney or Universal build, others are sure to follow to hinge off the already popular 'destination' that the brand brings.

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^SG has a couple of water parks now (The one at Sentosa http://www.parkz.com.au/photo/SG/Sentosa/Equarius_Water_Park/0,1,6097-Equarius_Water_Park.html and Wild Wild Wet is expanding too: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BINtdhvCAAAdCwD.jpg

Plus several public pools dotted around the island that literally cost a couple of dollars to swim at, and are mini water parks unto themselves, with lazy rivers, wave pools and the like: http://goo.gl/maps/tWI7K7

Excuse the pun, but the market may be saturated :P

HK has potential, it's just a question of getting around the insane land costs.

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