Universal Studios revives $2.7 bln Korea resort plan

SEOUL Mon Jan 18, 2010 10:00pm EST

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SEOUL Jan 19 (Reuters) - Universal Studios on Tuesday signed an agreement to build a $2.7 billion theme park in South Korea, its third and largest in Asia, reviving a plan delayed for two years by lack of funding.

The project can now go ahead after financing was secured from South Korea's Lotte Group, operator of the country's second-largest retailer Lotte Shopping (023530.KS), and POSCO (005490.KS), the world's no.4 steelmaker.

Construction by POSCO Engineering & Construction is set to begin in 2011, with the movie theme park, water park and resort, including a golf course and condominiums, due to open in early 2014 in Hwaseong City, near Seoul.

Plans for the 3 trillion won ($2.67 billion) resort were first announced in November 2007. Universal has now secured 15 partners, led by Lotte Asset Development, with a 26.7 percent stake, and POSCO Engineering and Construction, with a 24.4 percent stake.

Universal, set to be taken over by Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O), already has parks in Osaka, Japan and is opening one in Singapore, as well as in Los Angeles and Orlando in the United States.

Universal Parks and Resorts Chief Executive Tom Williams declined to comment on how much Universal planned to invest in the project, or on where else in Asia it was looking to build theme parks. ($1=1123.6 Won) (Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner)

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