Merlin builds on Legoland as its profits soar 35pc

 
Adam Hignett
More punters headed to Legoland on the back of the box office success of The Lego Movie

Legoland owner Merlin Entertain­ments yesterday reported that its pre-tax profit for its first full year as a listed company had surged on the back of the summer blockbuster The Lego Movie.

Merlin, the world’s second largest operator of visitor attractions, saw a five per cent increase in the number of attendees to its sites, which also include Madame Tussauds and Sea Life, taking the total number of visitors to 63m in 2014.
But it was its Legoland parks in the UK, US, Europe and Asia that were the biggest drivers of growth which saw combined revenues increase by 13 per cent.
Legoland’s success is leading Merlin to open two parks in Japan and South Korea, while plans to open a park in Dubai in 2016 were confirmed as on track.

Overall revenues for the company, which floated on the FTSE 250 in November 2013, rose five per cent to £1.25bn, while pre-tax profits soared 35 per cent, increasing to £249m for the period.
The company is seeking to further capitalise on the ongoing enthusiasm for the plastic bricks with the launch exclusive 4D Lego movies at its theme parks in September.
Chief executive Nick Varney said: “In what has been a busy first full-year as a public company, we have delivered on the near-term strategic targets set out at the time of the IPO, and our trading has met, or exceeded, expectations.”
Merlin Entertainments shares fell yesterday by 1.17 per cent to 415.30p.

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