CORRECTED - CORRECTED-Disney, Shanghai complete talks on theme park -paper

Thu Jan 8, 2009 12:45am EST

(Corrects name of listed unit in final paragraph to Shanghai Wai Gaoqiao Free Trade Zone Development Co (600648.SS) from Shanghai Jinqiao Export Processing Zone Development Co (600639.SS), and rewrites to reflect that its share price remained up by its 10 percent limit)

SHANGHAI Jan 8 (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) has completed talks with the Shanghai government on plans to build a Disneyland theme park in the city and the project will be announced soon, the official Shanghai Securities News reported on Thursday, citing people close to the talks.

Senior Disney executives came to Shanghai last December to discuss details of cooperation with the local government and the two sides achieved a consensus on the project, the newspaper said.

The project, however, has yet to receive approval from China's central government, which will be essential if it is to go ahead.

A spokeswoman for the Shanghai government declined to comment. A Disney representative in Hong Kong could not immediately be reached for comment.

The plan calls for Shanghai Disneyland to open to the public in 2013, the newspaper said, citing an expert involved in the feasibility study for the project.

Disney has engaged in on-again, off-again talks for more than a decade with the Chinese government over plans to build a large theme park and hotel complex in the southern outskirts of Shanghai's Pudong district.

Those talks were stalled by a Shanghai government scandal in 2006 and Disney's need to focus on Hong Kong Disneyland, which opened in 2005 to a string of operational problems and lacklustre attendance.

The Shanghai Securities News also said Shanghai Lujiazui Group and Shanghai Waigaoqiao Group would take part in the construction of the project.

Shares in their listed units Shanghai Lujiazui Finance & Trade Zone Development Co (600663.SS) and Shanghai Wai Gaoqiao Free Trade Zone Development Co (600648.SS) rose their 10 percent daily limits in morning trade on Thursday, although by the end of the morning session Shanghai Lujiazui Development had pared its gains to about 4.6 percent. (Reporting by Samuel Shen; Editing by Edmund Klamann)

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