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OPINION

Wax-backed roller-coaster

David Bowie's done it, European soccer clubs have done it, even British pubs and motorway service stations have done it. Now it's the turn of waxwork models.

Yes, Madame Tussauds wax museum is entering the asset-backed securities market.

Or rather its parent company, the Tussauds Group, is. The Group also owns Rock Circus, an Amsterdam-based waxworks museum, and three UK theme parks. The best known of these is Alton Towers in the English midlands, whose rides are dramatic enough to give any hedge fund vertigo.

Last October Charterhouse Development Capital bought the company from the Pearson Group for £352 million ($563 million). Of that, £165 million was senior debt, and £195 million was equity. Charterhouse plans to retire the debt and reduce the equity with the £230m ($368 million) deal.

But how is a firm with cyclical earnings (the summer months bring in much more money than winter) going to provide for the shortfall in revenues?

The answer is to create what Bankers Trust, bookrunners on the deal, call the seasonality line. This is a fund of £50 million, set up precisely to cover the shortfall in revenues in winter months.

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