Breaking News
Dubai's troubled theme park operator to go private Open in fullscreen

The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Dubai's troubled theme park operator to go private

Meraas already holds a 52% controlling stake in DXB Entertainments [Getty]

Date of publication: 21 December, 2020

Share this page:
  • 0

  • twitter
Meraas, a firm backed by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is set to take on debts incurred by and DXB Entertainments and make a tender offer.

A Dubai government-backed holding company made a formal bid on Sunday to buy out the city's struggling theme park operator, the company said in documents filed with the Dubai Financial Market, capping years of plummeting income and stocks.

Meraas Holding, the majority shareholder of DXB Entertainments, made a cash offer to acquire the debt-burdened company, which owns Dubai Parks & Resorts, offering to convert some $1.6 billion in debt, including a $403 million bond, into equity and buy out other shareholders at $0.02 for each share, below the $0.03 closing price on Sunday.

The firm's pain started well before the coronavirus pandemic wiped out Dubai's tourism and entertainment industries, pushing back the much-anticipated World Expo 2020, which the city hoped would draw some 25 million visitors to its new theme parks.

With property prices far below peaks reached in 2014, DXB Entertainments hasn't posted a profit in years and its plans for vast new amusement parks have repeatedly been scrapped. A massive park that opened near the Expo 2020 site reported a loss of $57 million last year and canceled an expansion. Last year, $454 million plans to open a Six Flags theme park were dashed when funds dried up.

Over the years, Dubai Parks & Resorts, which already includes Bollywood and movie-themed parks, as well as a Legoland, has changed CEOs, sought a freeze on loan repayments for three years and fired nearly a third of its staff.

Read also: Over 50,000 Israelis visited UAE since travel agreement: report

The company's statement on Sunday said nothing of the company's financial troubles, only that Meraas would take on the debt and make a tender offer to the remaining minority shareholders.

Meraas, a firm backed by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, holds a 52% controlling stake in DXB Entertainments, whose biggest foreign shareholders include the Qatari and Kuwaiti sovereign wealth funds.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to stay connected

The New ArabComments

Most Popular

Most Popular

    Read More