Change of guard at Ocean Park

Local | 26 Jun 2020 4:00 pm

Lau Ming-wai will take the helm at the Ocean Park Corporation, which is facing financial and operational challenges.

Lau, who had served as deputy chairman of the statutory body since July 2014, was named chairman from next Wednesday for a year. He will succeed Leo Kung Lin-cheng.

The park's financial health has worsened in recent years, reporting deficits of  more than HK$200 million in successive years since the financial year 2015-16. In 2018-19, the deficit more than doubled to a staggering HK$557 million.

The corporation predicts that it would face a cash flow deficit from operations of more than HK$600 million in 2019-20.

At the end of May, the Legislative Council Finance Committee approved the HK$5.4 billion to keep the cash-strapped theme park afloat for another year. This includes HK$1.13 billion for operating and HK$3.09 billion to repay commercial loans as well as related financing costs.Anf HK$698.59 million would be for capital expenditure.

The Secretary of Commerce and Economic Development, Edward Yau Tang-wah, said Lau has “profound commercial experience.''

Ysanne Chan, the chief fiancnial officer, was named the chief executive of the corporation.

Three non-official members, Michelle Cheng, Mrs Ann Kung Yeung Yun-chi and Vincent Ng Wing-shun, have been reappointed for a year from July 1.

Ocean Park, which opened in 1977, operates on a self-financing basis and has drawn more than 156 million visitors since then. Ocean Park employs about 2 000 full-time staff members and recruits more than 2,000 part-time workers during festive seasons.

Chief executive,  Matthias Li Sing-chung, and board member Jason Wong Chun-tat are leaving the corporation.

Ocean Park resumed operations on June 13, after being temporarily closed for more than months due to the social unrest and the coronavirus pandemic.



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