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Singapore Flyer bought by Straco Leisure for S$140m

The Singapore Flyer's buyer says it is a "defining attraction" and represents an "exciting opportunity" for Straco Leisure to expand in the region and contribute to the local tourism industry.

SINGAPORE: Straco Leisure, a subsidiary of Straco Corporation, on Thursday (Aug 28) announced that it bought the Singapore Flyer for S$140 million. 

In an announcement on the Singapore Exchange website, Straco said the acquisition "represents an expansion of the group's core tourism related business". The operator of the Singapore Flyer went bankrupt and it was placed under receivership in May last year.

In a media release, Mr Tim Reid, the Receiver of Singapore Flyer, said both parties have entered into an agreement to sell the business and assets of the Singapore Flyer to Straco Leisure. He said the receivers and managers are "confident that the prospects of the Flyer are extremely exciting under the new ownership".

Straco Corp's executive chairman, Mr Wu Hsioh Kwang, has more than a decade's experience in managing attractions. The company runs tourist attractions in China in places such as Shanghai, Xi'an and Xiamen.

Mr Wu said: "The Singapore Flyer is a defining Singapore attraction and represents an exciting opportunity to expand our presence in the region and contribute to the Singapore tourism industry. As a Singaporean company, we are especially proud to add this unique icon to our portfolio of high-quality assets."

REACTIONS FROM STB, TENANTS

Mr Lionel Yeo, chief executive of the Singapore Tourism Board, said: "The Singapore Flyer is a key attraction in the local tourism scene. We are therefore pleased that Straco Corp, a Singaporean company with strong track record in managing overseas attractions, has chosen the Singapore Flyer as their first attraction in Singapore to establish a presence back home.”

STB will work with Straco Leisure on their plans for the Singapore Flyer.

Tenants at the Singapore Flyer are also happy to see the light at the end of a long tunnel. One of them, Mr Parmod Kumar Verma, regional general manager of SSP Singapore, said: "We are very excited because we have been waiting for this news for a long time. If they are ready, we can talk to them and share our grievances or feedback. So it is not only the landlord's responsibility to bring the tourists - we can also contribute."

Caretaker of the Singapore Flyer, Ferrier Hodgson, believes it is a strategic asset Singapore should be proud of. The company said that for over a year while the giant observation wheel was under receivership, it attracted great interest - among them Singapore's famous nightspot, Zouk.

Mr Reid said: "We were approached by Lincoln Cheng of Zouk fairly early on during the receivership. And we met with him. We asked him for his business proposal. His proposal was not attractive to the receivers. And therefore, it would be now for the new owners to decide whether or not Mr Cheng's proposal meets with their vision that they have for the Flyer and the area that Mr Cheng believes that would be suitable for Zouk."

Going forward, Straco Leisure said plans for the Singapore Flyer will be shared when the transfer of assets is completed, and it is looking to work with staff and tenants to take the icon into a new phase.