Ananda Krishnan may sell German tropical resort

KUALA LUMPUR:  T Ananda Krishnan is considering selling a tropical-themed holiday resort in Germany as he seeks to focus on his domestic investments, people familiar with the matter said.

The Malaysian billionaire and business partner Colin Au are working with an investment bank to gauge interest in Tropical Islands Resort (pic, above) in Brandenburg, which houses the world’s largest indoor rainforest, according to the people.

They have held talks with some potential buyers for the project, which could fetch as much as €300 million (RM1.4 billion), the people said.

Tropical Islands Resort, located about 60 kilometers south of Berlin, was built in a former airship hangar and opened for business in 2004, according to its website.

Attractions include a rainforest housing 600 varieties of plants, palm tree-lined artificial beaches, a water park featuring a “Whitewater River,” a spa complex and a miniature golf course. Its indoor and outdoor facilities stretch across 100,000 square meters, the website shows.

Ananda Krishnan is focusing back on his home market after Aircel Ltd, an Indian wireless carrier he controls, filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors earlier this year. He is likely to spend more time on Malaysian mobile operator Maxis Bhd and pay-TV operator Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd, Bloomberg News reported last month.

Tanjong Plc, a holding company for some of Ananda Krishnan’s leisure and property investments, owns a controlling stake in Tropical Islands Resort, while Au holds the remainder, according to the people. Discussions are at an early stage, and they may not result in a deal, the people said.

A representative at Tanjong’s parent company, Usaha Tegas Sdn Bhd, said there are no serious discussions with any single party at this point in time.

Calls to Tropical Islands Resort during a public holiday in Germany weren’t answered. Au didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Maxis Communications Bhd stands to lose a total of about US$7 billion (RM27 billion) from its failed 12-year foray in the Indian telecommunications market, people with knowledge of the matter said in February.

Ananda Krishnan is Malaysia’s fourth-richest person, with a net worth of US$5.4 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

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