Singapore Flyer 'unlikely to be shipped overseas'

Both local and overseas parties have expressed interest in buying the Singapore Flyer, less than three weeks after the attraction at Marina Promenade was placed under receivership by its main lender.

Mr Tim Reid of the Flyer's appointed recovery firm Ferrier Hodgson declined to reveal the number of interested parties and said that it was too early for concrete offers at this stage.

It is "extremely unlikely" that the Flyer will be shipped to another country even if purchased by an overseas buyer, he told The Straits Times yesterday, adding that the attraction was a "fantastic asset to the country".

The receivers and managers of the Flyer had taken out advertisements in newspapers including The Straits Times and Wall Street Journal earlier this month inviting interested parties to submit written notice expressing their interest by 5pm on June 14.

The company behind the 165m observation wheel, Singapore Flyer Pte Ltd, was placed under receivership on May 28 for failing to meet financial obligations to a bank, its main lender.

The announcement came five years after the Flyer was opened to the public in March 2008.

Experts put its problem down to the lack of a local customer base. Steep discounts given to travel agencies to entice them to include the Flyer in their tours have also eaten into its profit margins.

Business at the $240 million Flyer has gone on as usual since the news of its receivership broke.

Ridership has been affected by the poor visibility of the surroundings due to the recent haze, with tourists reportedly postponing their trips to the observation wheel until the situation improves.

A Singapore Flyer spokesman said on Monday that the attraction was quieter, adding that visitors could have their tickets changed or refunded upon request.

mellinjm@sph.com.sg

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