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Aston owner to build new Ferrari fun park

High rider: Ferrari Land will become the Prancing Horse’s second fun park when it opens near Barcelona in 2016.

Spain to get Ferrari’s second theme park, courtesy of Aston Martin owner

Ferrari logo19 Mar 2014

By RON HAMMERTON

THE Italian-based private equity fund that controls British sportscar-maker Aston Martin is set to build a theme park for rival Ferrari in Spain.

InvestIndustrial, which also owned Italian motorcycle company Ducati before selling it to Audi in 2012, has announced plans for Ferrari Land, a €100 million ($A152m) theme park near Barcelona as part of InvestIndustrial’s existing PortAdventura resort complex.

To open in 2016, the new park becomes the second fun palace devoted to all things Ferrari – one of the world’s best-known automotive brands – after Ferrari World which opened in Abu Dhabi in 2010.

The new park will boast a 250-room five-star hotel and Europe’s highest and fastest vertical accelerator. It will be built and operated by InvestIndustrial under licence from Ferrari, which has set out to turn its legendary sportscar and motor racing heritage into a true global brand.

These activities are managed by a subsidiary, Ferrari Brand, whose CEO, Andrea Perrone, said the company had received many requests to develop new amusement parks after the success for Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi.

“We carefully sifted through the various proposals and decided to accept InvestIndustrial’s because it is a very solid plan developed by competent people that will bring the magic of Ferrari to Spain, a nation where we have many supporters and enthusiasts, and to which large numbers of tourists flock each year, in part thanks to PortAventura,” he said.

Mr Perrone said Ferrari was continuing to evaluate other proposals for theme parks outside Europe “at our leisure”.

“The brand is our most important asset, and we have to enhance its value without diluting it,” he said.

InvestIndustrial bought 37.5 per cent of ailing Aston Martin in December 2012.

Before that Aston had been off-loaded by Ford to David Richard’s Prodrive – the same company that built Ford Performance Vehicles in Australia until last year.

In July 2013, Aston did a deal to source engines and other components from Mercedes-AMG for its next-generation vehicles, replacing the current Ford-sourced V8 and V12 powertrains.

This deal sparked rumours that Mercedes’ parent company Daimler AG might buy out Aston from InvestIndustrial – rumours that are unlikely to go away now that InvestIndustrial has inked the theme park licensing agreement with Fiat-owned Ferrari.

InvestIndustrial specialises in acquiring ailing companies, turning them around and selling them for a profit.

The company bought Ducati in 2006, reversing its fortunes in the middle of the global financial crisis to the extent that it was regarded as one of the world’s most profitable motor cycle manufacturers when it was sold on to Audi in April 2012.

InvestIndustrial acquired the PortAdventura fun park resort in 2009, as Spain plunged into the depths of financial depression in the GFC.

The company spent €125 million ($A190m) to refurbish the park, and brought in a management team from Gardaland – Italy’s top amusement park on the shores of Lake Garda, near the northern city of Verona – to reverse its fortunes.

InvestIndustrial now claims the Spanish resort is the Mediterranean’s top amusement park, attracting four million visitors a year, half of whom come from outside Spain. It is ranked second in Europe behind EuroDisney in France.

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