Six Flags denies reports over plans for Saudi Arabia theme park
US theme parks operator Six Flags has denied reports that it is planning to open a resort in Saudi Arabia.
The company had been reported to be investigating a potential partnership in the kingdom after a meeting between senior executives and Prince Mohamed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince.
A Six Flags spokesman said that it was not planning a park in the country, citing a GCC-wide exclusivity deal with Dubai Parks and Resorts.
A spokesman for Six Flags said that it “has meetings with business and world leaders on an ongoing basis”, and that Jim Reid-Anderson, its executive chairman, and John Duffey, the chief executive, had been honoured to be invited to a meeting with Prince Mohamed to discuss his vision for Saudi Arabia.
The spokesman said: “The only Middle East market where an agreement currently exists to open a Six Flags park is in Dubai and no agreement has been reached to open any parks elsewhere in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia.
“In fact, we have an exclusive partnership in the GCC, including Saudi Arabia, with Dubai Parks and Resorts.”
Reports about a potential Six Flags park in Saudi Arabia emerged following an interview with Mr Duffey on a Saudi TV station. His comments were dubbed into Arabic, but he was reported as saying Six Flags was “very honoured to be provided with an opportunity to enter into a partnership” to bring Six Flags into Saudi Arabia.
Six Flags signed an initial agreement to open a theme park at the Dubai Parks & Resorts site in April 2014 and a management agreement in December last year.
The park will be developed over a 3.5 million square foot plot and contain 27 different rides and attractions. It will cost Dh2.6 billion to build and is due to open by the end of 2019.
Dubai Parks and Resorts last month raised Dh1.68bn through a rights issue to fund its element of the park.
Its parent company, Meraas Holding, will be the majority shareholder of the company that owns the park, with a 52 per cent stake. Qatar Holding has also taken an 11 per cent stake.
Dubai Parks and Resorts declined to comment on whether or not a Six Flags plant was likely in Saudi Arabia.
Speaking after the completion of the rights issue, which was 1.6 times oversubscribed, its chief executive, Raed Al Nuami, said: “The addition of Six Flags Dubai will enhance our already-extensive offering and further establish our position as the Middle East’s largest leisure and entertainment destination.
“We thank our shareholders for being a part of our growth and we are very excited to begin the next phase of our strategy.”
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Published: June 22, 2016 04:00 AM