Wonderla plans Rs 150 crore expansions

Wonderla, the amusement park promoted by the Kerala-based V-Guard, is looking to set up a theme park in Mumbai with an investment of Rs 150 crore.

This will be the second one for the company after its theme-park at Bidadi near Bangalore. The company has already acquired around 80 acres and plans to acquire further 40 acres for the project.

Presently, the firm is looking at the feasibility of setting up a park-cum-resort in Navi Mumbai. This is the model followed in many of the western countries.

The amusement park, expected to be up and running in three years, will be an integrated project which will also include commercial space to go with it, according to sources. The firm had acquired the land for a price between Rs 15 crore and Rs 20 crore. The project when completed, is expected to see an investment of over Rs 150 crore.

“The project is still in its early stages,” said Arun K Chittipally, executive director, Wonderla Holidays Pvt Ltd.

With property prices shooting up, the firm is finding it a challenge to find more land to buy as the development taking place in and around Navi Mumbai and the consequent rise in the property prices is making farmers staying away from selling their lands. With Reliance planning a township in the vicinity, said Chittipally, “The park could have a high number of footfalls.”

Speaking on the existing Wonderla amusement park on the outskirts of Bangalore, he said they are looking to expand it. The park, set up at an investment of Rs 105 crore about two years ago is set to breakeven in another two to three years. The company reported Rs 30.5 crore revenues in 2006-07, a growth of 8.9 per cent in the previous fiscal year.

The firm, which has 90 acres of land at Wonderla, has built the park in over some 40 acres. Wonderla has seen average footfalls of over 7 million per annum over the last two years its been in existence.

The size of the amusement parks business in India in 2006 was estimated around $6.6 billion, according to the Indian Association of Amusement Parks and Industries, better known as IAAPI.

The business has been growing at a break-neck speed over the last few years. Chittipally said, “The Indian amusement park business is where the movie theatre business was 15 years ago. Now, its the the age of multiplexes. There’s a lot more to come in the theme park industry to