Japan theme park Huis Ten Bosch to accept investment from China’s Fosun Group

Kyodo

Theme park operator Huis Ten Bosch Co. plans to accept an investment from Chinese conglomerate Fosun Group as part of efforts to attract more Chinese visitors.

Hideo Sawada, head of the operator of the park featuring Dutch buildings and flower gardens in the city of Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, said Monday the Chinese investment company is expected to acquire a 25 percent stake, possibly by the end of this month.

Sawada also heads travel agency H.I.S. Co., which now holds two-thirds of the shares. The chief executive said during a news conference that he will aim to list Huis Ten Bosch on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in three years.

If the investment by the Chinese company goes through, H.I.S. will still be the top shareholder.

Major shareholders of Huis Ten Bosch, including Kyushu Electric Power Co. and Saibu Gas Co., are expected to sell some of their shares to the Chinese firm.

Under the plan, H.I.S. will have a 50.1 percent stake and Fosun Group will own 24.9 percent, with the rest held by five companies based in Kyushu.

Since 2010, H.I.S. has led a turnaround of the theme park after the operator filed for court-led rehabilitation in 2003.

In the business year ended in September, the operator expects park visitors to have increased 5 percent from a year earlier.

In 2015, Fosun Group purchased a ski resort operator in Hokkaido.