Theme park hopes turn to State Govt funding

VILLAGE Roadshow is still negotiating extra funding support from the State Government despite talks with the Federal Government for an eight-figure bridging loan collapsing.

It was reported today that days ahead of Sea World's planned reopening following a three-month coronavirus shutdown, loans earmarked for Village Roadshow and rival Ardent Leisure's Dreamworld have been taken off the table.

It comes as Village bleeds cash - up to $15 million each month - from the closure of its parks on March 23. Ardent is in a similar situation burning through up to $10 million every month.

 

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The Federal funds were slated to help with the cost of reopening the parks.

Village last week announced it was reopening its parks starting with Sea World on June 26 with Movie World and Wet N Wild to follow on July 15.

Movie World is due to reopen on July 15.
Movie World is due to reopen on July 15.

However, analyst Citi has warned the reopening of the parks will make the cash burn worse, not better, in the short term due to the higher costs associated with cleaning and getting the rides ready for operation.

This morning, in an ASX update, Village said it is seeking to increase its debt financing facilities, due to reach $315 million by the end of the month, while at the same time trying to achieve a long-term funding agreement with the State Government.

 

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"While VRL continues to take measures to conserve capital, the increase in debt facilities will provide VRL liquidity as it moves into a phased reopening of its Gold Coast theme parks and cinema circuit," the statement reads.

Liya the Polar Bear from Sea World on the Gold Coast gets into her Christmas presents at Polar Bear Shores. Sea World will reopen on June 26. Pics Adam Head
Liya the Polar Bear from Sea World on the Gold Coast gets into her Christmas presents at Polar Bear Shores. Sea World will reopen on June 26. Pics Adam Head

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"Any funding received will be used to support VRL's theme parks in Queensland, and will be directed towards retaining employees, safety and maintenance and important capital expenditure projects."

Importantly none of Vilage's debt is due to mature in the near term.

Its lenders previously confirmed they will not apply financial covenants on June 30.

 

 

Originally published as Theme park hopes turn to State Gov funding