Major Japanese travel agency H.I.S. Co. said Tuesday that it will sell its entire stake in the Dutch-themed Huis Ten Bosch seaside resort in southwestern Japan to a Hong Kong-based investment fund for 66.6 billion yen ($480 million).

The gain from the sale of its 66.7 percent stake in the theme park to Hong Kong private equity firm PAG is expected to help improve the balance sheet of the company, battered by the novel coronavirus pandemic that has dealt a heavy blow to the tourism sector.

Photo taken on July 21, 2022, shows the Dutch-themed Huis Ten Bosch seaside resort in the Nagasaki Prefecture city of Sasebo, southwestern Japan. (Kyodo)

Meanwhile, the rest of the shareholders of the resort in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, such as Kyushu Electric Power Co. and Kyushu Railway Co., said they will sell their stakes to the operator of Huis Ten Bosch.

The total amount of the deal, including H.I.S.'s 66.6 billion yen, has reached nearly 100 billion yen.

The resort will continue its operations under PAG. The fund, which has invested in the operator of theme park Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, managed $50 billion in assets for about 300 investment funds as of March, according to its website.

People visit the Dutch-inspired Huis Ten Bosch theme park in the Nagasaki Prefecture city of Sasebo, southwestern Japan, on March 25, 2022, the 30th anniversary of the park's opening. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Later Tuesday, PAG said it has highly evaluated Huis Ten Bosch as it has high growth potential.

H.I.S. reported a record net loss of 26.9 billion yen for the six months through April, with demand for overseas travel plummeting against the backdrop of the pandemic.

In response to the huge loss, the travel agency said last week that it will reduce its capital to 100 million yen from the current 24.8 billion yen to improve its financial standing.

Huis Ten Bosch, which had opened in 1992, went bankrupt in 2003 as heavy initial investments weighed on its profitability. The resort's business has turned around under H.I.S after the travel agency decided to support its management in 2010.

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