August 9, 2021
New York, NY and Antwerp, Belgium (August 9, 2021) – EFA Partners, a boutique financial advisory firm that provides financial services for companies in the entertainment and leisure industries, today announced that it jointly worked with Fitraco, an equipment financing company with decades of experience in the theme park sector, to arrange financing for Coney Island's newest thrill ride, The Phoenix, a 68-foot family roller coaster at Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park.
The coaster is an exciting addition to the legendary Coney Island amusement district with its 100+ year history. The Phoenix opened to the public in early July after months of anticipation and is adjacent to the park’s iconic Wonder Wheel.
Financing for the Phoenix was part of the ongoing joint Fitraco/EFA Partners program which has arranged attraction financing for other theme parks and leisure companies. The program focuses on equipment financing for theme parks, water parks, and family entertainment centers. The principals of the two firms collectively have over 100 years of experience arranging financing in the leisure sector.
Led by Edward Bolluijt who has over 30 years of experience in the leisure sector, Fitraco’s core business is the leasing of large equipment for amusement parks. It was founded in 1983 and began its distinguished history with the leasing of the famous Boomerang roller coaster to the La Ronde theme park in Montreal, Canada. Now based in Antwerp, Belgium and New York, NY, Fitraco remains exclusively committed to the leisure industry.
EFA Partners’ principals, Ralph Willis, Kenny Favre, and Brandt Gully, have over 70 years of financing experience in the leisure, entertainment, and media sectors. They founded EFA in 2009 with offices in New York and Atlanta as a boutique investment banking firm. Its targeted sectors include family entertainment centers, theme parks, water parks, movie theaters, casinos, film and media services, concert venues, hospitality, sports, and others. The company focuses on arranging capital, mergers and acquisitions, and other financial consulting services. EFA has been retained by over 160 clients and has advised and arranged on over $3 billion of capital. Prior to forming EFA, the three principals founded and led GE Capital’s entertainment finance group in 2004 where they arranged over $3 billion of financing including over $500 million for theme parks, water parks, and family entertainment centers.
“I’ve known Edward for many years dating back to when I was with GE and we jointly arranged over $20 million of financing for Wild Adventures theme park in Georgia almost 20 years ago,” said Ralph Willis, Managing Partner and a founding principal of EFA Partners. “It has been great putting our joint financing program in place to arrange growth capital for leisure companies as the industry performs well this year with strong increases in attendance and revenue.”
“I’ve known Ralph and the EFA team for many years and am excited to work with them for our financing program,” said Edward Bolluijt, Chief Executive Officer of Fitraco. “It was a pleasure working with them for the Phoenix financing which was not an easy transaction to structure when we started the financing process early this year. Going forward, we have a strong pipeline and I look forward to working with EFA for future attraction financings.”