Australia's Village Roadshow Ltd, operator of the country's biggest cinema chain and several theme parks, said on Monday it will form a $500 million joint venture with China's CITIC Ltd to invest in theme parks on the mainland.
The Australian firm, behind some of the country's most popular theme parks, said it signed the fund management JV after two years of negotiations, describing the accord as a "major milestone" in its plan to expand into China and South East Asia. CITIC officials in Australia weren't immediately available for comment.
Village Roadshow said it will have a 49 percent stake in the new fund management firm, while CITIC will have 51 percent. But the Australian firm will get a 60 percent stake in the management company which designs, builds and operates the new theme parks.
The establishment of the joint venture also signals that state-owned CITIC remains open to doing business with Australia despite being locked in a legal dispute with mining magnate Clive Palmer. In that disagreement, Palmer wants to end CITIC's involvement in the $9.6 billion Sino Iron Project, China's biggest overseas mining investment.
The two firms will each invest up to $25 million over the next two to three years, with CITIC to raise the rest of the money required, according to the Village Roadshow statement.