AFP
Last updated: 14 October, 2014

Saudi billionaire to join Euro Disney bailout

Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal will join a financial bailout of the money-losing Euro Disney theme park, his Kingdom Holding Co said Tuesday.

“Yes we are confirming the story. At this moment there is nothing more to add,” a company official told AFP in Riyadh.

Britain’s The Mail on Sunday newspaper quoted Alwaleed as saying “we will fully subscribe” to a rights issue, maintaining a 10 percent stake in the theme park.

Disneyland Paris on the outskirts of the French capital has drawn more than 275 million visitors since it opened in 1992, making it Europe’s top private tourist attraction.

But it has always struggled to turn a profit and predicts a loss of between 110 and 120 million euros ($140 million and $152 million), sharply worse than a 78-million-euro loss in the previous period.

Last week, it announced a refinancing package that includes a cash infusion of 420 million euros and a conversion into equity of 600 million euros of debt owed to Disney.

Euro Disney has a debt of about 1.7 billion euros.

Tom Wolber, president of Euro Disney, blamed the difficult European economic environment for the amusement firm’s problems.

Visitor numbers have haemorrhaged in the past two years.