Dubai's IMG denies plan to sell world's biggest indoor theme park

Sources say Ilyas & Mustafa Galadari Group is exploring options for IMG Worlds of Adventure
Dubai's IMG denies plan to sell world's biggest indoor theme park
By Bloomberg
Thu 14 Mar 2019 04:02 PM

The owner of the world’s largest indoor theme park in Dubai is exploring options for the business, including a possible sale, according to people familiar with the matter.

Ilyas & Mustafa Galadari Group, known as IMG, is considering selling part or all of its IMG Worlds of Adventure theme park after struggling to restructure a 1.2 billion-dirham ($327 million) loan, the people said, asking not to be identified because the plans are private.

Discussions are at an early stage and the owners may decide to keep the business or consider an initial public offering at a later date, they said.

“We are not planning to sell IMG in any form, neither partial and wholly,” CEO Leonard Otto said in an emailed response to questions. “We are not in any discussion around the same,” he said, adding that IMG is in advanced talks with banks “on our syndicate-loan restructuring to support the business.”

The company had been working with JPMorgan Chase & Co and EFG-Hermes Holding on a possible 2017 initial public offering, people with knowledge of the plans said at the time.

Several theme parks have opened in the United Arab Emirates in recent years, including Warner Bros. and Legoland, as part of efforts to diversify the economy and attract more tourists. Since then, a prolonged period of lower oil prices and lower-than-expected visitor numbers have put pressure on operators in the region, forcing them to delay new openings.

DXB Entertainments, which raised $690 million through an initial public offering in 2016, last month said it was putting the brakes on a Six Flags theme park after it struggled to raise funding. Its shares have slumped 70 percent since listing.

IMG Worlds of Adventure, which cost about $1 billion to build, opened in 2016 and stretches across 1.5 million square feet and featuring attractions based on Marvel’s Avengers and Cartoon Network’s Powerpuff Girls.

For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.