Malaysian theme park operator seeks IPO listing in Singapore

Sim Leisure Group operates Escape Adventureplay (above) and Escape Waterplay in Penang. The theme parks attracted about 112,000 visitors last year, with some 185,000 visitors expected this year.
Sim Leisure Group operates Escape Adventureplay (above) and Escape Waterplay in Penang. The theme parks attracted about 112,000 visitors last year, with some 185,000 visitors expected this year.PHOTO: SIM LEISURE GROUP

Malaysian theme park operator Sim Leisure Group is planning an initial public offering (IPO) in Singapore to fund its business expansion.

Yesterday, it lodged a preliminary offer document to list its shares on the Catalist board some time next year.

The company operates theme parks in Penang - Escape Adventureplay and Escape Waterplay - which cater to local and foreign visitors. Its founder and chief executive Sim Choo Kheng has been in the theme park development and operating business since 1993. He has also worked on the Egypt and Jurassic Park zones of Universal Studios Singapore, and DreamWorks zone at Motiongate theme park in Dubai.

The company did not disclose how much it expects to raise, but Mr Sim told Bloomberg in October that a sale of new and existing shares in Singapore could raise about $10 million to $12 million. He also said the deal could take place by next month.

Proceeds from the deal will be used to fund Sim Leisure's expansion of existing theme park operations and help it venture into new regions, such as China and other South-east Asian cities. The firm also plans to expand its business via joint ventures and strategic alliances.

According to the preliminary prospectus, the company's theme parks brought in RM9.68 million (S$3.2 million) of revenue last year, up from RM9.24 million in 2016, mainly due to increased ticket prices with the opening of Escape Waterplay. Its audited pre-income tax profit last year stood at RM1.71 million, down from RM2.89 million in 2016, due to pre-operating expenses of Escape Waterplay.

The Escape theme parks attracted about 112,000 visitors last year, with some 185,000 visitors expected this year. The company thus expects this year's revenue to go up.

Revenue is also projected to rise further next year with the launch of its new Escape Gravityplay theme park in the first half of the year.

Sim Leisure said its directors intend to recommend an annual dividend of a minimum of 30 per cent of net profit attributable to owners of the company in respect of FY2019 and FY2020, although this is no indication of the company's future dividend policy.

Zico Capital is the sponsor and issue manager, while RHB Securities Singapore and UOB Kay Hian act as joint placement agents.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 29, 2018, with the headline 'Malaysian theme park operator seeks IPO listing in S'pore'. Print Edition | Subscribe