Vietnam on hold and Saudi Arabia imminent as Six Flags CEO hints at further international expansion plans

Six Flags CEO John Duffey has revealed new details about the company’s international dealings, hinting at further announcements in 2017 while also offering updates on the operator’s blossoming Saudi Arabia deal and stuttering Vietnam project.

In February, Six Flags announced a second Chinese licensing location in Bishan, consisting of a theme park and waterpark, bringing the total number of overseas Six Flags developments to five – three in China, one in the Middle East and the other in Vietnam. Six Flags has also been in active discussions to bring a park to Saudi Arabia and is rumoured to be looking at locations in Malaysia and Singapore. Speaking during Six Flags’ first quarter earnings call, Duffey was optimistic of further new deals being inked overseas.

“I can't tell you exactly how many potential further announcements we are expecting to make this year,” said Duffey. “But we've got some great discussions ongoing and I would be disappointed if we do not have further deals announced by the end of 2017.”

Discussing dealings with Saudi Arabia – which is also reportedly interested in purchasing a stake in Six Flags through the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund – Duffey said “good progress” was being made to deliver a theme park to the region.

“We’ve had numerous discussions and meetings with the Saudis,” he said. “We’ve recently completed our first phase of the work and we're moving towards signing definitive agreements. Our hope is that we can that accomplished in the near term and I feel very good about the status of the project and believe that Saudi Arabia is an excellent market for us.”

Six Flags’ proposed Vietnam project hit a stumbling block in February after its franchise partner NaVi Entertainment failed to fulfil “contractual obligations”, with the operator serving the company a Notice of Default.

Announced in March last year, the Vietnam development will use the Six Flags and Six Flags Hurricane Harbor names under a licensing agreement for a theme park and waterpark near Ho Chi Minh City.

“Expanding into emerging markets will not be without challenges and our partner in Vietnam has continued to experience delays in gaining title to the land, which impacted their abilities to secure financing for the next phase of the project and caused them to miss project payments,” said Duffey.

“Although they are trying to remedy this situation, we have suspended work on the project, and we have initiated discussions with other interested parties in the region. Vietnam continues to be a very good market for us, so we'll continue to pursue that.”

Vietnam  Saudi Arabia  theme park  waterpark  visitor attractions  China  John Duffey  Six Flags 
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Six Flags CEO John Duffey has revealed new details about the company’s international dealings, hinting at further announcements in 2017 while also offering updates on the operator’s blossoming Saudi Arabia deal and stuttering Vietnam project. In February, Six Flags announced a second Chinese licensing location in Bishan, consisting of a theme park and waterpark, bringing the total number of overseas Six Flags developments to five – three in China, one
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Speaking during Six Flags’ first quarter earnings call, Duffey was optimistic of further new deals being inked overseas / Shutterstock.com
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