SINGAPORE: The financially troubled Singapore Flyer, one of the world’s tallest observation wheels, has been bought by a local firm for S$140mil (RM354mil), more than a year after being put in receivership.
Straco Corporation said in a filing to the Singapore Exchange its subsidiary Straco Leisure is purchasing the 42-storey high observation wheel, which at 165m, is 30m higher than Britain’s London Eye.
Straco, which operates major tourist attractions in China including the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium and the Underwater World in Xiamen, did not specify its plans for the observation wheel.
“The acquisition represents an expansion of the group’s core tourism business,” it said in the filing.
Ferrier Hodgson, the receiver of previous owner Singapore Flyer Limited, said it will continue running the attraction for the next “two to three months” until Straco Leisure receives required government permits.
Singapore Flyer Limited was a private venture backed mainly by German investors.
Built by Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp and Takenaka Corp at a cost of S$240mil (RM605mil) the Singapore Flyer opened to great fanfare in April 2008.
Its fortunes however floundered as its novelty factor wore off and was put into receivership in May last year by creditors.
Analysts say the attraction’s margins have been eroded by steep discounts given to travel agents to boost passenger numbers.
It was shut for a month after it broke down in December 2008, leaving passengers stranded for close to six hours in the cabins. — AFP