China expected to be the golden ticket for Accesso as revenue leaps

Billy Bambrough
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Accesso takes tickets for Merlin owned attractions, including the London Eye
Accesso takes tickets for Merlin owned attractions, including the London Eye (Source: Getty)

International growth in resorts and attractions is set to work well for ticketing technology company Accesso in coming years.

China's booming middle class could propel the country to the fore of global theme park, resort, and attraction ticket sales and Accesso is expecting to be able to take a slice of the action.

Bottom line growth in recent months means the Berkshire-based company is now eyeing up expansion opportunities in the east.

For the company's first half – usually the weaker of the two, accounting for around 35-40 per cent of earnings – Accesso pulled in $39.7m (£30.1m), a rise of 24 per cent on the same period last year.

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Today's set of results suggest the company should be on target to hit its full year expectations, though Accesso executive chairman Tom Burnet conceded "there's still work to do".

Underlying earnings (Ebitda) surged by 126 per cent to $6.1m, from $2.1m last year as good weather brought out the thrill-seekers and sight-seers. Profit before tax was $2.3m, versus a loss the year before of $1.1m.

Burnet believes the top 20 theme parks in China will have higher attendance numbers than the top 20 in the US in the US in coming years.

A Sydney office opened in the second half of last year will be used as a launch pad into the Asian and Australian region and has so far built up a stable of around 20 customers.

Burnet said:

China is a huge market. Our western clients are all focused on growth there and we now have boots on the ground. Our Sydney office is the way in. It could be a huge market for us.

Growth into China and Asia through acquisitions is something the company is considering. Over recent years Accesso has grown its operations through three separate deals.

"M&A into China is a strategic choice we’re looking at," Burnet added.

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Accesso has still declined to post a dividend, preferring to invest cash into growing the business and investment in technology.

Burnet said:

I’d love to bring in a dividend but our job is to create shareholder value. We’re making good profits, we will [pay a dividend] at some point in the future.

In February Accesso extended its agreement with US resort giant Six Flags – currently its biggest single contract – to 2025.

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The company expects similar long-term deals to guarantee a regular income over coming years.

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