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Movie theme park troubles for Lend Lease

By Phil Boeyen, ShareChat Business News Editor

Wednesday 1st November 2000

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Australian property company Lend Lease will be taking another expensive hit to its books following disappointing visitor numbers to its Sydney-based Fox Studio's Backlot joint venture.

The company is forecasting it will have to make a provision of up to A$65 million after tax for the half-year to the end of December because of poor trading at the troubled movie studios and theme park.

Lend Lease says the Fox Studios Australia Joint Venture Board and management have started a strategic review on boosting the number of visitors to the Backlot, and the first changes are to integrate the Backlot with the Bent Street retail precinct and reduce ticket prices.

In July Lend Lease made an A$81.5 million after tax provision for the joint venture to cover its share of initial trading losses and a writedown on the value of its investment.

The property company says following three months' further trading and an intensive review of the original business model, it is clear that the original business plan will not generate the level of visitors anticipated, while achieving an acceptable investment risk profile.

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