- Signs MOU with Sri Lankan listed Elpitiya Plantations PLC, an associated company of Sri Lankan listed blue chip conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC
- Elpitiya Plantations PLC will sublease land for the project while Sim Leisure Group will develop and operate theme parks under its ESCAPE brand
- Signing of the MOU marks Sim Leisure's foray into new geographic regions with China and other ASEAN cities identified for further expansion of the Group's proven and successful business model
- The Group targets to commence construction of ESCAPE theme parks in Sri Lanka in March 2020
SINGAPORE, Feb. 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Sim Leisure Group Ltd. ("Sim Leisure" or the "Company", together with its subsidiaries, the "Group"), a theme park developer and operator based in Penang, Malaysia, announced today the signing of a non-binding memorandum of understanding ("MOU") with Sri Lankan listed Elpitiya Plantations PLC which will bring its ESCAPE theme parks to Sri Lanka. Elpitiya Plantations PLC ("Elpitiya") is an associated company of Sri Lankan listed blue chip conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC.
Pursuant to the MOU, Elpitiya will sublease land for the project while the Group will develop and operate theme parks under its ESCAPE brand ("ESCAPE Sri Lanka"). In order to develop ESCAPE Sri Lanka, Elpitiya has incorporated a special purpose company under the name of Venture Valley Private Limited ("Venture Valley"). Elpitiya intends to enter into a sublease agreement with Venture Valley for the sublease of a piece of land in Sri Lanka for the exclusive purpose of developing and operating ESCAPE Sri Lanka. Having been granted preliminary approval to commence construction and barring unforeseen circumstances, the Group aims to commence construction of ESCAPE Sri Lanka in March 2020. Both parties also expect the signing of the definitive agreement in relation to ESCAPE Sri Lanka later this month, which includes the entry of a strategic joint venture partnership whereby Sim Leisure and Elpitiya (or its nominee) are the proposed joint venture partners of Venture Valley. The Company will make the necessary announcements in due course.
ESCAPE Sri Lanka will be located halfway between Colombo city and the main beach resort of Galle (a city on the Southwest coast of Sri Lanka) against the backdrop of a booming tourist industry. Sri Lanka's Tourism Ministry is aiming to attract four million tourists in 2020 and revenue of five billion U.S. dollars from the industry to spearhead an overall economic revival of the country. This will amount to doubling the arrivals, as the island-nation had received 1.91 million tourists in 2019.
Speaking on Sim Leisure's expansion into Sri Lanka, Mr Sim Choo Kheng, CEO of Sim Leisure said, "I see tremendous opportunity in the Sri Lankan market with its population of over 20 million. Sri Lanka is one of few countries which is unspoilt and green. The country's unpolluted coastline and beaches bring tourists from all over the world and its tourism industry is growing at an incredible pace. Furthermore, the cost of doing business in Sri Lanka is relatively low.
We will have the first-mover advantage of building the first world-class attraction in Sri Lanka. Unlike many parts of East Asia, Sri Lanka has tremendous untapped potential for family leisure and a highly-educated population hungry for success. We see this as a great opportunity to train the local population in our operations for future global expansion. We will be generating smiles per hour never seen before in Sri Lanka."
 Xinhua News, Sri Lanka aims at doubling tourist arrivals in 2020, 24 January 2020 (http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-01/24/c_138731086.htm)
About Sim Leisure Group Ltd.
The Group is a well-established developer and operator of theme parks based in Penang, Malaysia. The Group's founder, Sim Choo Kheng, has more than 29 years of experience in the theming industry. The Group presently operates ESCAPE theme parks (http://www.escape.my/), in Penang, Malaysia and caters to both local and foreign visitors. ESCAPE Adventureplay is an outdoor adventure theme park which contains eco-friendly features and design elements reminiscent of traditional villages and pastimes in Malaysia. ESCAPE Waterplay is the first water park in Penang and also features the same eco-friendly and traditional design elements as ESCAPE Adventureplay. ESCAPE Gravityplay, the third in the ESCAPE series of theme parks features a chairlift and two downhill karting tracks. In November 2019, the Group officially opened the Guinness World Record's longest inner tube water slide which measures 1,111 metres. The ESCAPE theme parks welcomed approximately 112,000 visitors in 2017 and approximately 185,000 visitors in 2018.
ESCAPE is the answer to the Penang state government's vision of a world-class leisure destination when Sim Leisure won a development tender in 2009 over the 60-acre land ESCAPE currently inhabits. This Guinness World Record will place Penang on the world map and draw large tourism crowds domestically and internationally.
ESCAPE has been awarded the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence every year from 2014 to 2019, the Certificate of Merit and Winner in the category of Best Tourist Attraction (Man-Made Attraction/Theme Park) at the 19th Malaysia Tourism Awards for 2014/2015 and 20th Malaysia Tourism Awards for 2016/2017, respectively.
The Group's business model disrupts the typical mainstream business model from the West which pays hefty royalties and requires costly investments in themed structures and mechanical rides. More importantly, ESCAPE theme parks address the original pursuit of fun which comes from childhood, mischievous play with friends, and not strap-on mechanical rides.
ESCAPE theme parks re-introduce the forgotten childhood play of yesteryear to today's generation, showing that fun can be affordable. ESCAPE re-connects visitors with the nature we once lived in, co-existed with, and depended on by embracing green ideas. Currently, the ESCAPE theme parks in Penang featuring various play-centric attractions which include climbing zones, obstacle courses, vertical leap, zip lines, high dive platform and waterslides have guests re-discover their innate balance, agility, physical strength, courage, and play instincts. These are part of Sim Choo Kheng's vision of fun, environmentally-friendly, and economically viable theme parks. These also explain ESCAPE theme parks' success with corporate team building programmes and school field trips.
For more information, please visit https://www.escape.my/
For more information please contact:
Tel: (65) 6438 2990, Fax: (65) 6438 0064
This press release has been prepared by Sim Leisure Group Ltd. (the "Company") and its contents have been reviewed by the Company's sponsor, ZICO Capital Pte. Ltd. (the "Sponsor"), in accordance with Rule 226(2)(b) of the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited ("SGX-ST") Listing Manual Section B: Rules of Catalist.
This press release has not been examined or approved by the SGX-ST and the SGX-ST assumes no responsibility for the contents of this press release including the correctness of any of the statements or opinions made or reports contained in this press release.
The contact person for the Sponsor is Ms. Alice Ng, Director of Continuing Sponsorship, ZICO Capital Pte. Ltd. at 8 Robinson Road, #09-00 ASO Building, Singapore 048544, telephone (65) 6636 4201.