Village Roadshow has sold its Wet’n’Wild water park in western Sydney to Spanish leisure park operator Parques Reunidos for an up-front purchase price of $40 million.
The company has not given a reason for the sale, which will cause it a pre-tax loss of approximately $25 million in 2017-18, but Village says proceeds will be used to cut debt.
Australian theme parks have suffered lower patronage since a fatal accident claimed four lives at Village Roadshow rival Ardent Leisure’s Dreamworld theme park on the Gold Coast in October, 2016.
Ardent on Sunday overhauled its Dreamworld’s management team, with chief executive Craig Davidson, who was in charge at the time of the Thunder River Rapids ride disaster, announcing he will leave the company next month.
Mr Davidson’s role will be filled by Ardent chief experience officer Nicole Noye until a permanent replacement is found.
Parques Reunidos’s acquisition of Wet’n’Wild Sydney is the group’s first foray into Australia, adding to a stable of 60 theme parks, water parks, zoos and indoor entertainment centres across Europe, the US, Argentina, Dubai and Vietnam.
Village Roadshow – which owns theme parks including Warner Bros. Movie World and Sea World on the Gold Coast – has issued two profit warnings this year.
In addition to the $40 million sale price, Village Roadshow will receive payment that will depend on the park’s revenue performance up to June 30, 2020.
Wet’n’Wild Sydney’s earnings dropped 66 per cent to $3.1 million in the year to June 30, 2017, from $9 million the preceding year due to a fall in season pass sales and attendance levels.
The company blamed already weak visitor numbers for its profit warnings, compounded by a wet March and competition from the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Village Roadshow expects its annual result to be somewhere between break-even and a $10 million loss.