• Kyodo

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Theme park operator Huis Ten Bosch Co., which filed for bankruptcy last week with estimated liabilities of 228.9 billion yen, had 3.7 billion yen in negative net worth at the end of last year, company sources said Monday.

The negative net worth resulted largely from startup investment of 220 billion yen prior to the establishment in 1992 of the Dutch-style theme park as well as accumulated losses caused by lower asset values and unabated red ink in its earnings balance.

Huis Ten Bosch will soon appoint a financial adviser who will help pick companies willing to support the rehabilitation of the Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, theme park.

Sources familiar with the situation said domestic and foreign companies have already made offers to turn around the crippled operations of Huis Ten Bosch, whose name means “House in the Forest” in Dutch.

The company posted a pretax loss of 4.4 billion yen in fiscal 2001 through last March due to declining visitors although it boosted capital and received debt waivers worth 40 billion yen from creditors, led by the Mizuho Holdings Inc. group.

The park was launched with the backing of some 200 private and public investors, including the Nagasaki Prefectural and Sasebo Municipal governments, in the hope of turning the Sasebo area into a major sightseeing destination in Kyushu.

Earlier, sources said Huis Ten Bosch is expected to fall into negative net worth for the current fiscal year, which ends March 31.

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