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Owners of Spain's Parques Reunidos consider sale

Source: Reuters - Thu 30th Oct 2014
Owners of Spain's Parques Reunidos consider sale

In what cynics might call it a blow to the image of Spanish theme parks, the owners of Parques Reunidos are considering the sale of their Marine and Zoo themed-parks for around EU2 Bln, according to sources.

UK-based private equity fund Arle Capital, which owns the company could place the business on the market as soon as Spring 2015, although no formal steps have been taken at this stage and with both Parques Reunidos and Arle Capital declining to comment on the matter.

Madrid-based Parques Reunidos operates 72 sites around the world including Italy's Mirabilandia, France's Aquasplash and the Miami Seaquarium, which it bought in July this year.

The group struggled through the financial crisis as recession-hit consumers cut back on spending. Arle tried to sell the group in 2010 but dropped the process after receiving low bids.

In 2010 Arle was spun out of failed fund Candover Capital, a leading UK private equity fund which became a high-profile casualty of the financial crisis.

Parques Reunidos runs amusement and theme parks, water parks, marine life centres and zoos in countries including the United States, France and Britain.

Spain has increasingly been touted as an attractive opportunity for private equity as it shows signs of emerging from recession. Its economy minister said in September it would raise growth forecasts for this year and next.

Last year, U.S. buyout firm KKR bought a 49.9% stake in another Spanish amusement park operator, PortAventura, for more than EU200 Mln. Italian private equity firm Investindustrial, which first invested in PortAventura in 2009, kept 50.1% of the business.

equity investment in Spain was about EU2 Bln in the first half of 2014, according to Thomson Reuters data -- just shy of EU2.5 Bln in 2013, but a far cry from pre-crisis levels which hit EU5.5 Bln in 2007.

British firm Merlin Entertainments, which the sources said was Parques' nearest peer, is trading at an enterprise value of 10.4 times predicted core earnings, or EBITDA, for the next 12 months.

Recommended Reading :

* The curse of Spanish theme parks

* Port Aventua to threaten Paramount Murcia

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