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Park News

Compagnie des Alpes 2014 French group announces new projects and Dolfinarium disposal

The French group Compagnie des Alpes (CdA) recorded a 6.9% rise in visitors to its leisure parks last year and is currently the process of streamlining its portfolio of attractions with the disposal of the Dolfinarium. The Dutch facility, which it is believed will be sold to the Aspro group, is the latest park to be let go by CsA following its sale in 2011 of several attractions to the Looping group. CsA's strategy is now to focus on key brands including Walibi, Futuroscope and

Grvin, which opened a new wax museum last year in Prague, with another outlet opening soon in Seoul, South Korea.

Consolidated leisure park sales for financial year 2013/2014 reached €693 million, an increase of +2.2% compared with the same period the previous year. Spring and Easter were particularly strong. The total number of visitors was more than 9 million. As well as Futuroscope and the four Walibi parks (two in France and one each in Belgium and Holland), the group's portfolio also

includes Parc Astrix, Bellewaerde Park (Belgium), Fort Fun (Germany), France Miniature and Muse Grvin waxworks in Paris, Montreal and Prague. CdA's other are of business is ski resorts, where

sales levelled out after two years of growth. Across the group's full portfolio, EBITDA was +11%.

Although Futuroscope saw the opening during the period of new Time Machine dark ride and Mission Hubble IMAX experience, new attractions were few and far between at the other parks, the upturn being credited to a “each facility’s commercial policies as well as the efforts made to enhance the appeal of these destinations.” “I am delighted that the improvement in our earnings and cash flow generation ratios exceeded expectations,” notes CdA chairman and CEO Dominique Marcel. “What makes these good performances all the more satisfactory is that the economic situation in our principal markets was unfavourable. They reflect the magnitude of the work accomplished over the course of this year to get our leisure park business back on track for profitable growth and in alignment with the market’s highest standards.”

As well as the Dolfinarium, it its understood a

French property, if not France Miniature then either Planète Sauvage or Le Mer de Sable, is set to leave the group. These transactions are expected to have a positive financial statement impact in the first half of the year and should be 100% cash. Built as a joint venture with local partner Mast Entertainment Ltd, Musée Grévin Seoul will open in a 4,400 sq m building in the South Korean

Arle explores Parques Reunidos sale

The British private equity fund Arle has put the Parques Reunidos group up for sale, according to the Spanish publication El Confidencial. Morgan Stanley will handle the sale, which it is thought could raise as much as €2.5 billion. Arle, formerly known as Candover, paid €1 billion when it acquired the Spanish company in 2007 – but it has developed significantly since. Under the direction of Richard Golding, the Madrid-based group grew its portfolio to own or manage more than 70 amusement parks, waterparks and

attracton in Europe and the USA, adding properties such as Kennywood, Noah’s Ark Waterpark, Mirabilandia, Bobbejaanland, Tusenfryd and Movie Park Germany. Golding was succeeded as CEO last winter by former Accor Hotels/Disneyland Paris executive Yann Caillére, who recently announced a management contract for the upcoming Motiongate and Bollywood theme parks in Dubai.

Arle spokespeople have insisted that the fund "has not granted any mandate to Morgan Stanley to sell Parques Reunidos” however it is understood potential investors have been approached.

Fresh look for FamilyPark

Austria’s largest amusement park has a fresh corporate look for 2015. Once known as Familypark Neusiedlersee, in recognition of its location close to the lake of the same name, it’s now called simply Familypark. A new logo and identity has been created by agency Logorythmus, and will be extended to all advertising and print material, plus the park’s website. Meanwhile Filippo, the cat who has served as the park’s mascot for the last 15 years, gets a new uniform too.

According to a park spokesperson, the blue represents its numerous water rides, while the orange and sun rays evoke the joy and fun enjoyed by Familypark visitors. To accompany the logo comes the new slogan, “Happy Magic Fun.” Located in St Margarethen in the state of Burgenland, Austrian wine country, Familypark is run by the Müller family and entertained 496,000 guests in 2014 – an all time record. The free-to-enter, pay-as-you-go Prater in Vienna is thought to attract more visitors but such numbers make it the country’s largest pay-one- price park. New for 2015 will be a themed Gerstlauer Sky Fly (as pictued).


capital in the second half of this year. In 2016, CdA will open the Chaplain's World attraction in Corsier-sur-Vevey on the Swiss Riveria.

Parc Asterix

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