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M'sia billionaire Krishnan mulling sale of German resort: sources

Mr Krishnan is expected to spend more time on mobile operator Maxis and pay-TV operator Astro Malaysia.

Kuala Lumpur

MALAYSIAN billionaire 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.

Mr Krishnan and business partner Colin Au are working with an investment bank to gauge interest in Tropical Islands Resort 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 euros (S$484.2 million), the people said.

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Tropical Islands Resort, located about 60 km 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 metres, the website shows.

Mr Krishnan is focusing back on his home market after Aircel, 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 and pay-TV operator Astro Malaysia Holdings, Bloomberg News reported last month.

Tanjong, a holding company for some of Mr Krishnan's leisure and property investments, owns a controlling stake in Tropical Islands Resort, while Mr Au holds the remainder, according to the people.

Discussions are at an early stage, and they may not result in a deal, they said.

A representative at Tanjong's parent company, Usaha Tegas, 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 were not answered. Mr Au did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

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

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