Merlin Entertainments’ latest financial results show that the company has enjoyed profit growth in 2016 and is on track to meet its 2020 milestones.
Thanks to the weak pound, Merlin Entertainments, operator of attractions such as Alton Towers, Madame Tussauds and the London Eye, saw operating profits grow 3.6 percent in the year to 24 December on a year earlier.
Other positive areas included like-for-like revenue growth of 4.3 percent in the Resort Theme Parks Operating Group (RTP), with like-for-like revenue growth of 1.6 percent in Legoland. Recovery is well underway at Alton Towers, with strong performances from the wider RTP estate.
Nick Varney, Merlin Entertainments chief executive, said: “Our performance in 2016 is testament to the benefits of our strategy of portfolio and geographic diversification, with over 70 percent of our profits coming from outside of the UK. We have seen the continuation of a recovery in Resort Theme Parks, steady growth in Legoland Parks and a strong contribution from new business development. The external environment continued to present challenges in a number of our key markets although the impact of this was offset to some degree by cost control measures taken during the year.
“We made good progress against our 2020 milestones in 2016. Five new Midway attractions opened, our accommodation offering expanded, and our entry into the Middle East region was celebrated with the opening of Legoland Dubai in October. The pipeline into 2017 and beyond looks exciting, with over half of the projects necessary to achieve our 2020 milestones either opened, approved or under development.
“As we move into 2017, with ongoing volatility in a number of our markets and continued cost pressures, we will increase our focus on cost efficiency and productivity, while continuing to invest in our product, marketing, and people to deliver safe and memorable experiences to our guests.
“We continue to be excited about the long term growth opportunities for Merlin. Whilst we are planning prudently, we remain confident of a good performance in the year ahead.”
The Group has made good progress against its strategic growth drivers and remains on track to achieve the 2020 profit milestones set out in February 2016.
They will grow the existing estate through planned investment cycles, such as the introduction of Derren Brown’s Ghost Train at Thorpe Park and NinjaGo – The Ride at Legoland.
“This year, each Merlin site will again enjoy new rides, attractions, shows or features with high year investments at Heide Park, Legoland Deutschland and Legoland Florida, and 21 Midway attractions.”