Trouble for Six Flags as multiple international projects face delay
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Trouble for Six Flags as multiple international projects face delay

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We now have five locations across three countries, each with separate approvals and funding sources and we're having discussions with multiple potential partners regarding new locations outside of China

Six Flags chief Jim Reid-Anderson has revealed that changes in government are stalling the operator's Chinese projects, while there are "no assurances" as to the outcome of the operator's on-hold Dubai development.

Speaking during an earnings call, the Six Flags boss blamed "macroeconomic events" for the China delays, related to a number of new factors, including a weakening of the Chinese economy, the introduction of new policies and regulations, and the introduction of new leaders in local government.

"The recent turnover of government officials in Chongqing and Nanjing has caused development plans to be temporarily paused until the plan can be reviewed and re-approved by new leadership," he said.

"We've performed a comprehensive review of our project timelines jointly with our partner. Although we have reasons to believe conditions could improve in China during the second half of 2019, we now expect our high-end parks to begin opening in mid to late 2020 versus 2019, our Chongqing parks to begin opening in mid to late 2021 versus 2020 and Nanjing to begin opening in late 2022."

Six Flags also recently revealed major funding issues for its Dubai development. Originally set to be part of the phase two development of DXB Entertainments' Dubai Parks and Resorts, plans were stalled after funding dried up owing to the operator's existing three parks performing poorly since launch. For DXB, the company is yet to post a profit since its public listing in 2014.

"As it relates to Dubai, our project continues to be on hold," said Reid-Anderson. "Our partner at DXB has had well-publicised financial and operational challenges with the first phase of the complex and has been losing money.

"Their Board mandated a strategic review of the future development plans for Phase 2, which includes our park.

"While we continue to work with them on a path forward, there can be no assurances as to the outcome of the project."

Despite these setbacks, Reid-Anderson said the company's international expansion strategy, which operates on a franchise model, was still having a "strong, positive and enduring impact".

"In 2018, we announced five new international parks, all of which will contribute to our long-term growth," he said. "We now have five locations across three countries, each with separate approvals and funding sources and we're having discussions with multiple potential partners regarding new locations outside of China."

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Six flags chief Jim Reid-Anderson has revealed that changes in government are stalling the operator's Chinese projects, while there are "no assurances" as to the outcome of the operator's on- hold Dubai development.
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