Walt Disney has agreed to inject an extra HK$350 million into its Hong Kong theme park’s six-year expansion plan and waive part of its management fees for two years after renewed public outcry over the deal’s “unequal” financing.
The concession came after loss-making Hong Kong Disneyland sought approval of a HK$10.9 billion facelift project in the Legislative Council last year – with more than half the bill to be footed by taxpayers. It cited fierce regional competition and dwindling mainland visitor numbers.
Some lawmakers earlier vowed to veto the funding application if the government – the park’s largest shareholder – failed to renegotiate a better deal with the American media giant. Questions arose as to whether the newest concessions were significant enough to benefit the city.
Addressing concerns expressed by lawmakers in previous discussions, the government and Walt Disney agreed to fund the project on a 50:50 basis, instead of the previous ratio of 53:47, based on its current shareholding structure, a paper submitted to Legco on Tuesday shows.
That means taxpayers would pay HK$350 million less to fund the project at HK$5.45 million after the renegotiation. But the government’s share in the park would drop to 52 per cent.
Lawmakers will decide on the funding application at a financial committee meeting on Saturday.
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