Merlin Entertainments plc has announced plans to open a ¥32 billion LEGOLAND theme park in Nagoya, Japan in the second quarter of 2017.
Merlin currently operates six LEGOLAND parks in five countries, most recently opening LEGOLAND Malaysia in 2012 and is scheduled to open LEGOLAND Dubai in 2016.
LEGOLAND parks and discovery centres usually include models inspired by the country or city they are located in. As yet there are no specific details of the attractions and themes for LEGOLAND Japan.
Developing more LEGOLAND parks is one of the six key drivers of Merlin’s strategy for growth.
Nick Varney, Merlin Entertainments Chief Executive Officer, said, "The park will make a significant contribution to the growth of the Merlin group from opening in the second quarter of 2017, as well as supporting our continued geographic diversification. Long term, we continue to believe that there is significant opportunity for the LEGOLAND brand, with the potential for up to 20 parks across the world and we remain committed to our target of opening a new park every two to three years.”
LEGOLAND Japan will run under an ‘operated and leased’ model. Merlin will directly invest ¥9.2 billion over the next 3 years and lease the remainder of the assets via a company owned by KIRKBI Invest A/S (a subsidiary of KIRKBI A/S a privately held holding company with a 75% ownership in the LEGO Group and a 29.9% Merlin shareholding).
Commenting on the news, Varney said, “Today’s announcement is another major milestone in the development of the LEGOLAND brand. We are delighted to be working closely with the City of Nagoya and with KIRKBI on the project, both of whom appreciate the potential of the brand in the second biggest theme park market in the world."