Theme Park Veteran Shuns Roller Coasters on Way to Singapore IPO

(Bloomberg) -- Sim Leisure is planning a Singapore initial public offering of its Malaysian theme park business, which offers water slides, dunk tanks and tree swings at its Penang location.

A sale of new and existing shares could raise about S$10 million ($7.2 million) to S$12 million, said Sim Choo Kheng, the company’s founder and chief executive officer. Proceeds from the deal, which could take place by January, will be used to fund a new park in eastern China’s Shandong province, he said in an Oct. 8 interview in Singapore.

Sim Leisure is betting that traditional childhood activities like tree climbing, which the Malaysian park offers, will prove attractive elsewhere in Asia, he said. The company’s park avoids intense rides like roller coasters and instead seeks to recreate simple pleasures children used to enjoy in a natural environment, according to Sim, who grew up climbing trees and splashing in the river during his childhood in a village in Penang.

The company’s Escape theme park in Malaysia, which Sim opened in 2012 using 8 million ringgit ($1.9 million) of his savings, drew about 150,000 visitors last year and had 9 million ringgit of revenue, he said. Sim plans to start work on a second Escape theme park in Shandong in February.

Dubai-based Sim Leisure has consulted, designed, built and operated parks and attractions since 1993, its website shows. It’s contributed to projects including Ski Dubai, Universal Studios Singapore and Legoland in Denmark and Malaysia.

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