Wednesday June 24, 2009

Khazanah in joint venture with Boustead to set up theme park

PETALING JAYA: Khazanah Nasional Bhd and Boustead Holdings Bhd yesterday entered into a joint-venture deal via their subsidiaries to invest RM50mil in the development of an indoor educational theme park based on the concept of “KidZania” in Mutiara Damansara.

The joint-venture company, Rakan Riang Sdn Bhd, which would be 80% held by Khazanah’s wholly-owned subsidiary Themed Attractions and Resorts Sdn Bhd and 20% by Boustead Group’s wholly-owned subsidiary Boustead Curve Sdn Bhd, was expected to start the construction of the KidZania theme park in August.

“We expect the payback period for our investment in KidZania to be less than five years,” Khazanah managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar said after the KidZania Kuala Lumpur licensing agreement signing ceremony yesterday.

KidZania is a family entertainment centre where children play adult roles in a child-sized replica of actual city with streets, buildings, shops and vehicles moving along the streets.

KidZania was the second theme park venture for Khazanah after its RM750mil investment to develop Legoland in Iskandar Malaysia. The new investment was a reflection of Khazanah’s increasing focus on the leisure and tourism sector to drive its business revenues.

Azman said it also represented the Government’s investment arm’s continued commitment to catalyse the domestic economy by investing in sectors with high multiplier effects.

“KidZania could boost the services industry, and is a strong complement to the education and entertainment sectors,” he explained, adding that the project would create 400 new jobs upon completion.

Scheduled for completion in 2012, KidZania is expected to attract some 500,000 visitors per annum. It will be housed in a new seven-storey complex, costing RM80mil, that will be built and owned by the Boustead Group, in Mutiara Damansara.

The new theme park is expected to occupy some 60,000 sq ft on two levels of the proposed building that will be linked to The Curve shopping complex via a sky bridge.

According to the founder and president of KidZania Xavier Lopex Ancona, the KidZania theme park in Jakarta would charge US$12 to US$13 per visit.

“It is a different concept, whereby children pay the full entrance fees and adults pay discounted fees,” he said.

However, the entrance fee for KidZania Kuala Lumpur has yet to be determined. It would only be revealed in due course, said Azman.

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