Spanish firm buys Sea Life Park
The 200 employees are expected to keep their jobs under the new ownership
Parques Reunidos Group
of Madrid, Spain, has acquired Sea Life Park on the Waimanalo coast.
The sale of the 22-acre amusement park by Dolphin Discovery of Cancun, Mexico, closed Wednesday. The approximately 200 employees of Sea Life Park were informed of the acquisition yesterday afternoon.
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
"We feel honored and privileged to enter the Hawaii community and look forward to making the Sea Life Park experience even more exciting," said Richard Golding, executive president of Parques Reunidos.
No personnel changes are expected to result from the sale, the company said. Jesus Bravo will continue as general manager, a position he's held since December 2006.
With the acquisition, Parques Reunidos now runs 62 amusement, water and animal parks in Europe, the United States and South America.
Eduardo Albor, president and CEO of Dolphin Discovery, which had owned the park since January 2005, said Parques had approached him a few months ago.
Albor said many goals were accomplished over three years, particularly involving interactive and educational programs. Dolphin Discovery will focus on operations closer to home in Mexico and the Caribbean, where it has other projects already under development.
Parques' Spanish unit operates zoos and aquariums around the world, including the Madrid Zoo, L'Oceanographic Marine Park in Valencia, Spain, and Marineland in Antibes, France.
The Parques Reunidos portfolio includes six amusement parks, 11 zoo and nature facilities, 20 water facilities, 22 family entertainment centers and two cable cars in Spain.
Its most recent acquisition was Palace Entertainment, which operates water parks and family entertainment centers in the U.S.
Parques Reunidos facilities brought in revenues exceeding $700 million last year, and expects to surpass 22 million visitors this year.
The company, which has London-based Candover Investments as its majority shareholder, plans to invest in the continued improvement of Sea Life Park.
Sea Life Park is home to 24 dolphins, Kaikamalu the wholpin and her daughter, Kawili Kai, a large collection of sea lions, monk seals, penguins, sea turtles, stingrays and fish from Hawaiian waters.
Last year, the park entertained about 300,000 visitors with its shows, exhibits and educational programs, including the popular Sea Life Luau, Dolphin Swim Adventure and Dolphin Encounter.