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Article : Village Eyes Asian parks

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Lousie Brannelly, Herald Sun - June 30 2004, pg 39 VILLAGE EYES ASIAN PARKS VILLAGE Roasdhow could invest up to $40 million expanding its theme park operations into Asia. The company announced yesterday it had agreed to explore the posibilty of participating in the establisment of a theme park on Singapores Sentosa Island. villages potential role would be in the design and managment of construction as well as an equity interest of either 25 or 50 percent in, and managment of the ongoing buisness. Analysists welcomed the news which pushed Villages shares 1c higher to $1.81 yesterday. CCZ Equities analysist Tony Waters said it was not unexpected that  Village would try to leverage off the sucess of its 3 gold coast theme parks. He said the company would probably use a similar model to the one it had with its radio spin off, Austero, which manages some radio licences in Asia and Europe. Village would most likley contibute its managment expertise, leaving the capital cost to other players, he said. " Its a low risk model for them and offers potential. However its ahrd to get a good guage of hjow well it would go for them until you get a good understanding of where the sites they are managing are located." Village said its participation would be subject to negotiations with singapore authorities. Its anticipated its direct equity commitment could be between $20 and $40 million. Contributions would be required over the next 3 years. While funding has yet to be finalised, Village said it could include an extension of its existing theme park (off balance sheet) facility.  The project is still in preliminary stages and the companys participation and commitments are subject to both negotiation and further development of a buisness plan.
What do you guys think?

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It pushed the shares 1c higher, and I think thats about what its worthy of. They are basicly saying "You give us money, and we'll build a park that we aren't confident enough in to actually invest in ourselves, and we'll take most of the profits because we'll be managing it, effectivly leaving you at our mersy". Interesting idea, and it'll probably get up, but the model can't be that appealing to other compaines.

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I say work at fixing what you've already got before going on to start fresh elsewhere. Our parks aren't bad, but I think there are many ways all our parks could be vastly improved to get attendance and overall profits up. Secondly, Australia is perhaps one of the smallest theme park industries in the world. Asia is the largest. At the end of the day I've got nothing against what they do here - they run a pretty clean ship, but do they really think they have the expertise to operate in a very large and competitive market. I'm leaning towards the "no" on that one. Interestingly they said they'll be doing the design. Sea World is OK, Wet'n'Wild isn't bad, but being fair, mostly done by the previous owners - what has been added I would say isn't exactly great for crowd management. Then we get to Movie World which is nothing other than terrible. I'd like to see what they come up with for a forth time. My guess is they'll go for something that actually gets guests physically stuck in the park, RCT style. Finally, Village Roadshow can invest "up to" $40 million, which is "either" 25 or 50% of the total cost of the park. On the cheap would be exaggerating. There's a huge Disney park opening in Honk Kong in a few years time, Tokyo's parks are currently constructing some absolutely huge rides and Village is going to build something that sounds sound like about half what our parks are, at the best. A huge number of our guests are on tour from over there. There would also be inevitable reductions in international attendance. Good work with the one cent. If they go ahead with it, that'll be the only positive number they'll see for a while. :D

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Yeah, thats what I was thinking, Melbourne and Sydney really have un tapped theme park markets so I thought it would make sense for them to have a go at an easier market then a competitive Asian one. Plus I imagine they would know more about what Aussies like then Singaporeans.

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More info here It mentions the budget being $300 - $600 million. Now that sounds like the sort of budget that would let you build quite a nice park. Much more useful than the $80 - $160million that was mentioned in the previous article. Also judging by the quote, it sounds very much like a new version of Seaworld: "We're looking for something that's very conducive to Singaporean life, possibly in the marine area with rides. It's got to be very much a family park," said John Menzies, chief executive of Warner Village Theme Parks.

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