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07 Feb 2019

Six Flags Dubai on hold as DXB sees finance options evaporate
BY Andy Knaggs

Six Flags Dubai was due to contain 27 rides across six themed zones

Six Flags Dubai was due to contain 27 rides across six themed zones
photo: Six Flags/DPR

DXB Entertainments – the owner of Dubai Parks and Resorts – has slammed the brakes on its under-development Six Flags-branded theme park in Dubai, citing withdrawal of financing as the reason behind the move.

Originally scheduled to open later this year, the project was placed into a strategic review of "future development plans and capital deployment" by DXB in August 2018. In a short statement issued on 6 February 2019, the company announced that those plans are now on hold.

"In the intervening period, actions, including formal notification by Six Flags, resulted in funders’ concerns being raised specifically in relation to the revised projections for the Six Flags Dubai Project," said the statement. "As a result, the syndicated finance facility intended for utilisation as part of the development of the Six Flags-branded theme park is no longer available, and the Six Flags Dubai project cannot proceed at this time."

The statement added that the scope of the strategic review will be adjusted and an update will be provided "in due course".

This decision comes amid a slowdown in Dubai’s economy in recent years, with oil prices slumping and residential property values declining by about 25 per cent on the 2014 peak, according to Bloomberg.

DXB already operates three theme parks in the region: the Hollywood-inspired Motiongate Dubai; Legoland Dubai; and Bollywood Parks Dubai. Also in its portfolio are a Legoland waterpark, a hotel and retail/dining interests.

Despite a rise in visitor numbers to these attractions in 2018, the company has yet to post a profit since it was listed in 2014, and its stock has lost about 85 per cent of its value since peaking in 2016.

Neighbouring Saudi Arabia could have its own Six Flags theme park by 2022, as the operator is involved in a project to build a huge attraction there that will continue its plans to expand outside of the US.



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