London Resort Company Holdings attracts investment from SinoFortone in the £3.2bn project for the London Paramount Entertainment Resort
London Resort Company Holdings and SinoFortone Group today announce an intention for SinoFortone to invest an initial amount of £100 million in the London Paramount Entertainment Resort (London Paramount). This announcement is made following talks in China recently and after an initial Memorandum of Understanding was signed in August 2015. SinoFortone has access to significant Chinese funding to benefit the London Paramount Entertainment Resort project. Kleinwort Benson acted as financial adviser on the investment.
The London Paramount project will comprise an entertainment resort, including a theme park, events space and hotels on the banks of the Thames in North Kent. It is the first major leisure scheme to be designated a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) by the UK Government, and is due to open in 2021, subject to planning permission from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. The project, which will create up to 27,000 jobs, expects to receive 15 million visitors per year once fully established.
David Testa, CEO, London Paramount, said: “We are delighted that SinoFortone Group of China has decided to invest. This shows that our vision for London Paramount and its location in North Kent with excellent transport links to London, Europe and the rest of the world, is appealing to investors, residents and tourists alike.
“SinoFortone Group of China’s decision reflects the unique economic and regenerative opportunity provided by this multi-billion pound project, which will employ thousands of people and be a huge additional offering to the UK’s entertainment and tourism industries.”
Dr. Peter Zhang, managing director, and Sir Richard Heygate, senior advisor at SinoFortone Group, commented: “London Paramount is an ideal investment opportunity given its excellent connectivity to the capital. We are delighted to act as a bridge from China to this major European and British project, and are excited to be able to make London Paramount a reality.
“This investment supports President Xi Jinpeng’s important ‘One Belt One Road’ strategy, which encourages international infrastructure investment and trade relationships. Given the President’s October visit to the UK as a guest of Her Majesty The Queen, it is well-timed.”
Kleinwort Benson was appointed as the sole adviser to London Resort Company Holdings in May 2015. As part of this mandate, Kleinwort Benson is responsible for overseeing both debt and equity fundraising for the £3.2 billion London Paramount project.
Nigel Spray, head of Principal Investments & Advisory at Kleinwort Benson, said: “We are delighted to have brought together two major players across the globe for a truly world class entertainment resort. The resort combines the best of Hollywood through Paramount Pictures, the best of British through the involvement of the BBC and Aardman Animations and now the best of Chinese construction expertise through SinoFortone Group.”
The announcement of this decision to invest coincides with the trade visit to China by Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, and the UK Trade & Investment department, and also the recent visit by Alderman Alan Yarrow, the Lord Mayor of London. Chinese premier Xi Jinpeng is visiting the UK this week.
Lord Mayor Alan Yarrow said: “It is very encouraging to see sustained Chinese investment in large scale UK projects such as London Paramount. 2015 marks the beginning of a ‘golden era’ in Anglo/Sino relations as we look to encourage further collaboration and facilitate inward investment for Chinese firms across all sectors.”
Sandra Matthews-Marsh MBE, Chief Executive, Visit Kent, said: “This exciting announcement comes at a time when Visit Kent, the Destination Management Organisation for Kent, is embarking on a wide-spread campaign to prepare the county to make the most of the growing potential of the Chinese market. Kent has always had a unique offer for foreign markets, boasting both heritage appeal and modern connectivity with the fastest rail links in the country to London and the continent. We have a diverse range of high-quality tourist attractions, including award-winning vineyards and stunning cathedrals, and London Paramount’s expected opening in 2021 will further increase our wow-factor to tourists.”