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Dolphin Cove to pump US$3.5m into St Lucia marine park

Published:Monday | March 20, 2017 | 12:00 AM
A trainer takes a dolphin through its paces at the flagship marine park owned by Dolphin Cove Limited in Ocho Rios.

Dolphin Cove plans to pump another US$3.5 million ($450 million) into setting up its marine parks in St Lucia, its largest investment in nearly four years, which follows a change of ownership of the marine park.

Dolphin Cove Limited wants to grow regionally beyond its present operations within Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. It has already secured land in Turks & Caicos but that location still remains undeveloped.

The company only recently started pumping money into the St Lucia operation with the capital spend at that location totalling US$1.4 million as at December 2016.

"At December 31, 2016, commitments for capital expenditure in respect of the construction of a new encounter park in St Lucia, for which no provision has been made in these financial statements, is US$3.5 million," stated the audited financial report. Gleaner Business queries to chief executive officer Stafford Burrowes went unanswered up to press time.

The planned capital expenditure is substantially higher than the company's investment in 2015, when it spent $112.5 million on additions to properties and plant, and $29 million on additions of live assets. It is also the biggest investment by the marine park operator since 2013, when US$4.4 million was used to acquire property overseas and invest in dolphins in Jamaica.

The St Lucian attraction will operate through SB Holdings Limited, set up in November 2013 with its wholly-owned subsidiary, Marine Adventure Park Limited.

Dolphin Cove earned US$2.86 million of profit on revenues of US$15.3 million. Profit fell 13.7 per cent less than US$3.3 million a year earlier. Mexico-based World of Dolphins Inc acquired 79.99 per cent of Dolphin Cove Limited in January 2016.

Since the fourth quarter, the Jamaican marine park has switched to reporting its financial results in US dollars.