In a world where there are new restaurants and attractions opening up every day for lonely urbanites and weary travellers alike, travel listings and must-see lists on popular web portals serve as the greatest indicators of the popularity of these establishments. And if you were to check such sites in verdant Bengaluru, No.1 on the list of 248 things to do in the city happens to be a visit to an amusement park and in God’s Own Country, Kerala; No.4 on the list of 152 things to do in Kochi, too, is an amusement park.
For 65-year-old Kochouseph Thomas Chittilappilly, the promoter of Wonderla Holidays, which runs both the parks, this is a rather unexpected outcome, considering that the founder of the Kerala-based V-Guard Industries had ventured into the business in 2000 to de-risk his manufacturing business, which was back then battling labour issues and weak demand.
What started off a single theme park called Veegaland in Kerala is now a successful zero-debt amusement business steered by Chittilappilly’s son Arun, largely spanning the south, with revenue of ₹182 crore and cash flows of ₹56 crore. And with plans to foray into newer markets such as Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, Wonderla has its eyes set on making a big splash in the amusement park business.
The more the merrier
Footfalls should witness an uptick with the
commissioning of a new park in Hyderabad in 2016
A successful listing in 2014 is still paying off for investors. At ₹290, the stock is quoting a 132% premium over its issue price of ₹125, despite the biggest-ever sell-off by FIIs in August. At current prices, it is still reasonably valued at 22X estimated FY17 earnings, particularly in the light of growth over the next three to four years, driven by its upcoming Hyderabad project (see: The more the merrier).
There are very few businesses that can pass on the inflationary pressure an