FUKUOKA – The trustees of failed theme park operator Huis Ten Bosch Co. have chosen Nomura Principal Finance Co. as the firm’s rehabilitation sponsor, trustee chief Shigeaki Momoo said Wednesday.
Nomura Principal Finance, the investment arm of the Nomura Securities group, outbid three other potential buyers, including U.S. investment firm Ripplewood Holdings LLC, with its pledge to invest more than 30 billion yen.
The court-appointed trustees of Huis Ten Bosch, which operates the Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, are expected to finalize the deal by next month, the trustees said.
The trustees will come up with a rehabilitation plan for Huis Ten Bosch by the end of March, they added.
Several companies had expressed interest in acquiring Huis Ten Bosch, though this number had been cut to four by August.
The trustees apparently chose Nomura Principal because its bid was higher and because the firm has corporate revival expertise, according to informed sources.
The theme park, modeled after a Dutch town, opened in March 1992. Hit by a visitor slump and deteriorating cash flow, Huis Ten Bosch filed for court protection in February this year, leaving debts of 230 billion yen.
Nomura Principal, a wholly owned subsidiary of Nomura Holdings Inc., is expected to cut costs by revising the pay structure at Huis Ten Bosch and adopting other belt-tightening measures, while making a capital investment of more than 10 billion yen.
Capitalized at about 8.9 billion yen, Nomura Principal was established in 2000, tasked with expanding the Nomura group’s investment operations.
Nomura Principal invests in companies with long-term potential and recoups investment in a variety of ways, including the public offering of stocks.
The company has thus far undertaken operations to revive insolvent businesses such as Misawa Resort Co., a Tokyo-based golf course and hotel operator in the group of firms led by Misawa Homes Co., and Fuji Car Manufacturing Co., an Osaka-based specialty vehicle maker.
The company reported revenues of 2.8 billion yen and net profits of 1.1 billion yen in fiscal 2002.