/

Universal Studios looking to return to the TSE in 2015

Kyodo

The operator of Universal Studios Japan is considering relisting on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in the business year starting next April, sources said Wednesday.

USJ Co., which operates the Osaka theme park featuring attractions based on popular Hollywood movies, is planning to raise funds to build a new amusement park, possibly in Kyushu or Okinawa.

In 2007, USJ debuted on the TSE’s Mothers market for startup firms but was delisted in 2009 after its share prices were hit badly by a fall in visitor numbers in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Since then, the company has sought to rebuild its business under U.S. financial giant Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

The sources said it will make a final decision for the relisting after assessing the performance of its newly built Harry Potter area, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” which is set to open next Tuesday.

Along with its plan to open a new theme park, USJ is also considering bidding for a license to operate a casino complex in Osaka if gambling regulations are relaxed, as expected.

The costs for opening the new amusement facility and resort complex with casino are likely to amount to hundreds of billions of yen, they said.

The number of visitors to its Osaka theme park in the year that ended last March rose approximately 7.7 percent from a year earlier to some 10.5 million, coming close to the 11 million recorded in fiscal 2001, it’s first year.

The company appears to believe that the Harry Potter attraction will boost earnings and lead to a rally in demand for its shares.

Currently, all USJ stock is owned by an investment fund affiliated with the Goldman Sachs Group.