Tuesday 14 August 2018

Alton Towers owner Merlin Entertainments knocked by fall in profits

But Merlin’s chief executive said the firm’s sales had ‘undoubtedly benefited’ from the heatwave in the UK.

Merlin Entertainments owns Alton Towers and Thorpe Park (PA)
Merlin Entertainments owns Alton Towers and Thorpe Park (PA)

By Helen Cahill, Press Association City Reporter

Alton Towers owner Merlin Entertainments has booked a rise in sales on good weather, but was knocked by a fall in profits.

For the 26 weeks ending June 30, Merlin’s revenue was up from £685 million to £694 million, a rise of 1.3%.

However, profit before tax was knocked 13.7% year-on-year to £43 million.

Sales in Merlin’s theme parks grew 9.7%, which the company attributed to good weather, successful investment and a recovery at Alton Towers, which was marred by a rollercoaster crash three years ago.

Revenue across the group’s Legoland parks was up 7.8% following the full integration of Merlin’s Legoland business in Japan.

Merlin’s share price was down 3.9p in morning trading to 386.6p.

Nick Varney, Merlin’s chief executive, said the firm had “undoubtedly benefited” from the heatwave in the UK, and good weather across northern Europe.

However, the weather had a negative impact on the company’s indoor attractions.

“Having so far traded in line with expectations we are now entering our peak season where we generate the majority of our annual profit,” Mr Varney said.

“With many exciting new initiatives and launches to come in the future, we remain confident in our long-term prospects.”

Hargreaves Lansdown’s Steve Clayton said: “Merlin make the bulk of their money in the second half of the year, but there are mixed messages about the outlook in these interim numbers.

“The theme parks are trading well, hardly surprising given the sunshine so far this summer. Costs are going up though, as low unemployment starts to squeeze wages higher.”

Press Association

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