Focus turns to Asia

Australian theme park group Village Roadshow will focus on less-developed Asian markets as it scales back its involvement in the US.

Australian theme park group Village Roadshow will focus on less-developed Asian markets as it scales back its involvement in the US.

Village announced last week it would offload water parks in Hawaii and Arizona, marking a $2 million loss, as it maintains a 51 per cent stake in a recently opened Wet'n'Wild park in Las Vegas.

Chairman Robert Kirby said emerging economies are a better proposition. "This change in strategy is because we considered that it was becoming increasingly difficult, with the improving US economy, to acquire additional suitable properties at satisfactory prices, and because we consider that we can achieve better returns in less-mature markets, notably in Asia," he told shareholders.

A water park on Hainan Island in China is due to open in late 2014 or early 2015.

Next month, the group will open Sydney's first major theme park since Wonderland closed in 2004, which will include 40 rides and the "world's biggest inland sea".

Village has spent $8 million marketing its new Wet'n'Wild park at Prospect, in Sydney's west.

"We have no doubt that the payoff will be significant for the 2014 full-year and beyond," Mr Kirby said.