DXB Entertainments restructures Dubai theme park debt

The entrance to the Legoland Dubai theme park at Dubai Parks and Resorts. (Reuters)
Updated 26 March 2018

DXB Entertainments restructures Dubai theme park debt

LONDON: DXB Entertainments (DXBE) has confirmed the restructuring of its 4.2 billion dirham (£1.1 billion) debt facility it used to finance phase one of Dubai Parks and Resorts, one of the largest theme parks in the Arabian Gulf.

The company has secured a three-year moratorium on principal repayments and covenant testing with its lenders.

It will continue to pay interest on the debt as required under the original agreement, according to a filing to the Dubai stock exchange.

The company is also planning to enter into a 1.2 billion dirham convertible instrument financing structure with its majority shareholder Meraas. Plans will be presented to shareholders on 25 April. An existing 700 million dirham subordinated facility agreed with Meraas last year will be rolled into this new agreement.

The announcement comes as DXBE published its consolidated full-year results for 2017, confirming a net loss of 1.12 billion dirhams. Total revenues for the year reached 552 million dirhams, according to a Dubai Financial Market (DFM) filing on March 26.

While the company reported lower revenues of 76 million dirhams for 2016, the park only opened late that year and the full-year results reflect just three months of operations. DXBE posted a net loss of 485 million dirhams for that time period.

Revenues started to pick up in the fourth quarter of 2017, following the completion of all rides and attractions in the park, including the “The Hunger Games” attractions.

Revenue reached 157 million dirhams, marking an increase of 37 percent compared with the third quarter 2017.

“It is important to remember that our business is still in its infancy, having just completed the last rides and attractions at the end of last year,” Mohamed Almulla, CEO and managing director of DXBE said in the DFM filing.

“The staggered opening of the parks has had an impact on the target contribution of overseas visitors to our visitor mix, which has impacted revenue.

“Therefore, we believe that while we saw significant progress in the last quarter, our 2017 results are not indicative of our ability to drive future performance. 2018 will be the first year of full operations for the destination and should be the year we are judged on.”

Total visits to the DXBE theme parks neared 2.3 million in 2017, with the fourth quarter delivering close to 796,000 visits, a 66 percent increase on the third quarter.

The rise in visitor numbers was partly widely expected with the fourth quarter a typically high tourist season in the emirate. DXBE also revised its pricing strategy last September to drive up visit numbers to the parks, and reviewed its marketing efforts to target Gulf residents and some key international markets.

China-US trade talks ‘making a final sprint’ — state media

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping as U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, left, and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, right, look on before proceeding to their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China February 15, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 16 February 2019

China-US trade talks ‘making a final sprint’ — state media

  • US duties on $200 billion in imports from China are set to rise to 25 percent from 10 percent if there is no deal by March 1 to address US demands

SHANGHAI: Chinese state media on Saturday expressed cautious optimism over trade talks between the United States and China, a day after President Xi Jinping said a week of discussions had produced “step-by-step” progress.
Xi made the comments at a meeting on Friday with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Beijing, after a week of senior- and deputy-level talks.
The People’s Daily, the official paper of the ruling Communist Party, said in a commentary that Xi’s meeting with US negotiators had affirmed progress made in previous talks and “injected new impetus into the next stage of the development of Sino-US trade relations.”
The talks “have made important progress” for the next round of negotiations in Washington next week, the paper said in its domestic edition.
“It is hoped that the two sides will maintain the good momentum of the current consultations and strive to reach an agreement within the set time limit,” it said.
US duties on $200 billion in imports from China are set to rise to 25 percent from 10 percent if there is no deal by March 1 to address US demands that China curb forced technology transfers and better enforce intellectual property rights.
In its overseas edition, the People’s Daily said “zero-sum thinking and games where you lose and I win can only create losses for both. Only on a basis of mutual respect and equal treatment, through dialogue and consultation, can we find a solution acceptable to both sides.”
An English-language editorial in the Global Times, which is published by the People’s Daily, said news that China had consulted on the text of a memorandum of understanding “shows the two sides have made unprecedented progress.”
“The MOU and next week’s talks both show that the seemingly endless China-US trade negotiations, like a marathon, are making a final sprint,” it said.
The newspapers cautioned that any agreement would have to be in the interests of both the United States and China.
“There are still obstacles to be overcome, and no one should underestimate how daunting a task the two sides face trying to resolve all the differences that have long existed between them in one clean sweep,” the official English-language China Daily said in an editorial.