Alton Towers owner agrees China Legoland deal

The Smiler rollercoaster at Alton Towers.
The Smiler rollercoaster at Alton Towers.
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Alton Towers owner Merlin Entertainments is to build numerous attractions across China as part of a joint venture with a Chinese media firm.

The troubled entertainment group plans to develop a Legoland park in Shanghai and various visitor attractions across the country in partnership with China Media Capital (CMC), it said.

These projects will see existing Merlin brands such as The Dungeons adapted and localised for the market, it added.

The announcement was timed to coincide with Chinese president Xi Jinping’s state visit to the UK, as the two countries seek to strengthen financial ties.

Last month, Merlin revealed a sharp drop in revenue across its theme park division as visitors stayed away following a major roller coaster accident in June.

Speaking about the joint venture, Merlin chief executive Nick Varney identified China as a key growth market for the group.

He added: “We see this partnership as providing a significant opportunity to accelerate our plans. We are also very excited to be working with CMC on the development and roll-out of new brands.

“By working together in partnership we will be able to combine our expertise in operating world-class attractions with CMC’s insight and expertise in the Chinese market.”