Everything is awesome? Legoland pushes up revenues at Merlin Entertainments

 
Emma Haslett
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New Legoland openings helped to push up revenues (Source: Getty)

Legoland continued to act as a golden goose for theme parks operator Merlin, although profits remained flat.

The figures

Pre-tax profits stuck at £50m in the 26 weeks to the beginning of July, the same as last year, although up 0.7 per cent at actual foreign exchange rates.

Meanwhile, the number of visitors to Merlin's parks rose to 29.7m, up from 28m last year, while revenues rose to £685m, up from £573m.

Revenues at its Legoland parks rose 34.6 per cent at actual foreign exchange rates, or 20.8 per cent on a constant currency basis.

Earnings per share rose 0.6 per cent to 3.7p, while dividend edged up to 2.4p, from 2.2p last year.

Why it's interesting

Merlin, which operates tourist attractions including Madame Tussaud's and the London Dungeons, hasn't had the easiest few years: after a crash on the Smiler ride at Alton Towers in 2015, in which five people were seriously injured, it has previously admitted people are avoiding theme parks. And heightened security measures following this year's spate of terror attacks have also put people off.

But today it said new Legoland openings were helping: chief executive Nick Varney said its new park in Japan, which opened at the beginning of April, had already attracted over half a million visitors. Meanwhile, new attractions at its Sea Life acquarium in London and at Madame Tussauds in Sydney were pulling in visitors.

Still, those terror attacks will continue to take their toll: "we remain cautious on the near term outlook for our UK attractions," it said.

What Merlin said

Chief executive Nick Varney said:

We continue to be excited by the long term underlying growth prospects in our market and have the strategy in place to exploit these. We remain on track to meet our 2020 milestone targets, supported not only by the attractions and accommodation opened to date, but also by the progress we have made on the pipeline, in particular the ongoing development of new brands which will underpin the longer term roll out.

Read more: Merlin says recovery from Alton Towers crash is "well underway"

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